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.




Christmas Is Undefeatable

December 18, 2014

A new Pew survey shows overwhelming majorities of Americans believe in the historical actuality of the Christmas story, including the Virgin Birth, the angels appearing to shepherds and the Wise Men following the star…


Ferguson, Protests, Faith & Civil Order

December 17, 2014

Recently I became an inadvertent participant in a Ferguson “justice” rally. Several score of demonstrators marched up the trendy restaurant section of Washington, D.C.’s 14th Street on a Friday evening, with frolicking Millennials looking…



December 10, 2014

Numerous religious voices have been amplifying the findings from the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats’ report on enhanced interrogation techniques that are denounced as torture. The report and religious reaction rehash a debate dating…


Pearl Harbor, Faith & Remembrance

December 7, 2014

This morning in church some one prayed aloud in remembrance of Pearl Harbor, 73 years ago today. I looked around at the congregation to see how many could even remember Pearl Harbor. Although United…


Withholding Salaries of Dissident United Methodist Bishops?

December 3, 2014

Recently Christianity Today reported on the Ritter Plan, originated by an Illinois pastor, to divide U.S. United Methodism into two ideological jurisdictions, one orthodox and the other LGBTQ affirming, in place of the current…

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Atticus Finch in a Skirt

December 2, 2014

Harper Lee, now age eighty-eight and long out of the public eye, is the legendarily mysterious author of the iconic 1961 novel of southern racial injustice, To Kill a Mockingbird. It inspired an equally…


Can Religious Activism Shift on Immigration?

November 29, 2014

This USA Today piece wonders if the religious coalition behind immigration reform, i.e. mass legalization, can survive President Obama’s executive amnesty. It quotes Southern Baptist official Russell Moore warning it could indeed fracture the…


Methodist Repentance & Native Peoples

November 28, 2014

United Methodism has been repenting for misdeeds against American Indians for many years. The 1996 General Conference apologized for the crimes of a retired/defrocked Methodist clergy, John Chivington, notorious for leading Colorado militia in…


IRD: Thanksgiving “the supreme season for gratitude for God’s blessing”

November 25, 2014

“For all of our problems, there is much for which Americans of all faiths can be extremely grateful,” says IRD’s Mark Tooley.


Liberal Church Groups React to Ferguson Grand Jury

November 25, 2014

Two liberal church groups responded immediately to the Ferguson grand jury verdict.


Two Deaths, Ebola, ISIS & United Methodism

November 24, 2014

Two recent prominent deaths tied to important global events reveal much about United Methodism’s character. Dr. Martin Salia was a Sierre Leone doctor at a United Methodist hospital in his native country who contracted…

Source: Wiki Commons

Churches and Obama’s Executive Amnesty

November 21, 2014

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler has critiqued President Obama’s executive amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants as a “danger to separation of powers” that “should be unconstitutional.” Mohler, before Obama’s speech, noted…