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.




The Church Is a Family

July 27, 2014

Christians best advocate for human love and dignity by demonstrating it among themselves, especially by speaking when any part of the Body of Christ suffers for the faith.


Astrology, British Health Care, Nancy Reagan & Christendom

July 25, 2014

A British member of Parliament, from the Conservative Party, is creating a stir by advocating the utility of astrology, especially relating to national health care. He recently told the House of Commons: “I am…


Scenarios for United Methodism’s Future?

July 23, 2014

Last week I blogged against United Methodist schism. In response, some have asked what scenarios I envision for United Methodism’s future. Here are some possibilities, starting with what I think is the least likely…

President Obama Signs Water Resources Reform, Development Act And H.R. 1726

Federal Discrimination against Religion?

July 21, 2014

Religious groups will not receive an exemption from an executive order signed this morning by President Barack Obama banning “discrimination” based on sexual orientation or “gender identity” by federal contractors.


Presbyerian Church (USA) Very Special Interest in Israel

July 17, 2014

The stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Gradye Parsons, has released a verbose statement demanding an end to the “violence” between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. For emphasis, he even lists ALL the…


Why I’m Against United Methodist Schism

July 16, 2014

Some evangelical United Methodist friends have suggested our denomination possibly enact a formal division between conservatives and liberals. They understandably want a relatively amicable conclusion to the over 40 year denominational battle over sexuality….

His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

Could a UMC Bishop Speak like Constantinople’s Patriarch?

July 14, 2014

United Methodist bishops rarely speak outside the language of American hyper individualism and “rights.” In one typical example, a bishop, while acknowledging United Methodism’s policy that marriage is man and woman, still urged congregations…


Total Depravity Is Key to Social Justice!

July 12, 2014

Recently a friend who’s taught political science at a distinguished Evangelical school for decades told me that when he mentions Christian doctrines about Original Sin or depravity to students their response typically is blank…


Calvinists, Please Rescue Evangelicalism from Perfectionism!

July 11, 2014

Wesleyan and Anabaptist perfectionisms are the emerging dominant forms of Christian social witness in America, according to this fascinating piece in First Things by Dale Coulter of Regent University. He’s certainly right about their…


It Was a Mighty Fourth

July 7, 2014

July 4 means life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, not death, entitlement, and vice.


Our Faith and Our Nation

July 4, 2014

Despite the many blessings on our own land, Christians in America are understandably in a funk and sometimes ambivalent about their civic responsibilities.


Religious Freedom & Religious Authoritarians

July 1, 2014

Kudos to the churches and other religious groups that, believing religious liberty and conscience are sacrosanct, oppose the Obamacare HHS mandate compelling religious employers to subsidize contraceptives and abortifacients. More battles are ahead. But…