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.




Enchanting Fog from the Episcopal Past

February 25, 2015

The University of the South at Sewanee is a legendarily southern Episcopal Church institution perched beautifully on a plateau in the hills of southeast Tennessee. Earlier this week on a road trip I stopped…

Capt. Benjamin Oliver Davis, Jr., of Washington, D.C., climbing into an Advanced Trainer. Tuskegee, Alabama. January 1942. Source: Wikimedia Commons

An ISIS side to America’s History?

February 24, 2015

President Obama’s prayer breakfast speech urging Christians and Americans to avoid a “high horse” before condemning Islamists in light of the Crusades and Jim Crow has provoked wider reflection on comparative national and cultural…


The Puritans Were Like ISIS?

February 21, 2015

This week Yale Divinity School’s Miroslav Volf, in an interview with Religion News Service’s Jonathan Merritt, seems to compare America’s founders with ISIS. He explains to Merritt about ISIS: I think it is an…


Evangelicals Must Resist Mainline Protestant Trajectory

February 19, 2015

(Here are my February 19 remarks at Perimeter Church outside Atlanta at the Areopagus Forum.) Recently a Nashville area church pastor who professes to be evangelical made headlines by announcing his church’s acceptance of…


Mainline Protestant Decline and Hope

February 19, 2015

Oldine decline is deserved and self precipitated, but nonetheless sad for America and the Body of Christ, leaving a spiritual and cultural void that Evangelicals and Catholics have not been able to fill.


Giving Thanks to George Washington on His Birthday

February 16, 2015

Today legally and morally is not “Presidents’ Day” but George Washington’s Birthday. And the day should robustly honor the man without whom our nation, its wealth, its democracy, its free speech, its religious liberty…


Archbishop of Canterbury & Bombing Dresden

February 15, 2015

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, representing the Church of England, commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Allied bombing of Dresden with a mournful speech in the German city, prompting British newspapers to claim he…

Source: Patheos

Obama, Lincoln, and Niebuhr

February 13, 2015

There are numerous defenders of President Obama’s prayer breakfast appeal for Christians to not “get on our high horse” about criticizing Islamic violence and to recall the Crusades, Inquisition and American racial segregation. These…


God’s Ideal Government

February 11, 2015

Southern Baptist thinker Jonathan Leeman wrote a fascinating essay last month on God’s purposes for the state. He points out that Scripture commends no specific polity, admits that democracy has benefitted Americans, but warns…


Judicial Death and the Church

February 10, 2015

Canada’s top court has effectively overturned its nation’s laws against assisted suicide, overriding longstanding legislation of Canada’s elected representatives and a thousand years of Common Law, not to mention even more ancient understandings about…

Source: YouTube

The President’s Breakfast Crusade

February 9, 2015

And what about those “foolish, historically illiterate” critics of his speech?


Choosing Church Growth or Decline?

February 7, 2015

Are church vitality and growth a mystery? And is decline inevitable? Recently I was conversing with a United Methodist friend about a church we previously attended. It’s now in difficult financial straits, property has…