Mark Tooley

Mark Tooley

Prior to joining the IRD in 1994, Mark worked eight years for the Central Intelligence Agency. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and is a native of Arlington, Virginia. A lifelong United Methodist, he has been active in United Methodist renewal since 1988, when he wrote a study about denominational funding of pro-Marxist groups for his local congregation. He attends a United Methodist church in Alexandria, Virginia.  Mark Tooley became president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD) in 2009. He joined IRD in 1994 to found its United Methodist committee (UMAction). He is the author of Taking Back The United Methodist Church, published in 2008, and Methodism and Politics in the 20th Century, published in 2012. His articles about the political witness of America's churches have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The American Spectator, First Things, Patheos, World, Christianity Today, The Weekly Standard, National Review Online, Washington Examiner, Human Events, The Washington Times, The Review of Faith and International Affairs, Touchstone, The Chicago Tribune, The New York Post, and elsewhere. He is a frequent commentator on radio and television.




Cardinal Burke, Murderers & Stereotyping

March 28, 2015

Lifesite News has a nearly 5,000 word interview with a traditionalist Cardinal about Catholic controversies and doctrine, which a Religion News Service headline remarkably distilled down to “Cardinal Raymond Burke: Gays, remarried Catholics, murderers…


Disciples of Christ Eye Convention Pullout to Protest Indiana Religious Liberty Law

March 27, 2015

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) denomination announced its governing convention may not meet in Indiana after the state approved its own version of the longstanding federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.


A Church Against Religious Liberty

March 27, 2015

Hardly anyone ever talks anymore about the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) denomination, even though it is historically Mainline, because it doesn’t have many members left and has become culturally marginal. But the denomination,…


John Wesley and Religious Liberty

March 26, 2015

Last year I wrote for First Things on John Wesley’s reaction to anti-Methodist riots in the mid-1700s as it relates to contemporary assaults on religious liberty. Recently a letter by John Wesley revealing his views…


Remembering Methodist Renewal Warrior Ira Gallaway

March 24, 2015

IRD co-founder and 30 year board member Ira Gallaway, a longtime soldier for United Methodist renewal, died last week, age 91.  He was a WWII veteran, a former oil man, a former Texas judge,…

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Christianity and Nukes

March 19, 2015

American nuclear disarmament will not leave the world safer or holier.


“Sound of Music” as Christian Allegory

March 19, 2015

“Sound of Music” the film with Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and Diane Sawyers hosted an affecting ABC remembrance of it last evening, interviewing both lead actors.  The story…


Methodists & Race

March 18, 2015

Wesley Seminary hosted a well attended panel on faith and race last evening, undoubtedly nobly intended, but frustratingly offering few if any clear pathways of hope.  Several panelists mentioned the church’s supposed “silence” about…


Why Are Americans Happy & Religious?

March 14, 2015

A new Pew survey of 44 countries reiterates what other surveys have shown for years:  Americans are more religious and Americans are more hopeful about their ability to improve their future than are other…


Thank God for Abortion Providers?

March 12, 2015

The head of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice recently blogged for Huffington Post an ode to abortionists: Every day doctors, nurses, medical assistants, abortion doulas, and receptionists risk their lives to make sure that those…

Source: American Spectator

Forgiving a Killer?

March 9, 2015

The trendy case of Kelly Gissendaner, on death row in Georgia.


Rick Warren: “Thank Baptists for Religious Liberty”

March 5, 2015

Baptists have long been champions of religious freedom, recounted mega church pastor Rick Warren and Southern Baptist spokesman Russell Moore, in a panel moderated by Judge Ken Starr, president of Baptist affiliated Baylor University….