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.




Hillsong Church, Relevance & Pariahs

October 18, 2014

There’s a good piece by Andrew Walker in First Things on a popular international church network called Hillsong’s apparent equivocation on marriage. At a recent New York press conference, the ministry’s leader, Brian Houston,…


2014 Diane Knippers Memorial Lecture by Robert George on Marriage & Religious Liberty

October 18, 2014

Professor Robert George, an IRD emeritus board member, holds Princeton University’s McCormick Chair in Jurisprudence and is the founding director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions. He is vice chairman…

Robert P. George is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton, where he lectures on constitutional interpretation, civil liberties and philosophy of law.

Robert P. George to Speak on Religious Liberty at Annual IRD Lecture

October 14, 2014

Distinguished Catholic philosopher Robert P. George of Princeton University will deliver the Institute on Religion & Democracy’s annual Diane Knippers Lecture on defending marriage, life and religious liberty.


God & Christopher Columbus

October 14, 2014

The Politically Correct now celebrate Indigenous People’s Day instead of Columbus Day, as the above photo tweeted from a liberal Methodist caucus illustrates. There were two especially worthwhile blogs yesterday on commemorating Columbus. Justin…


Can Methodism Reach America’s Reviving Cities?

October 12, 2014

Will United Methodists ever get serious about reaching America’s cities with the Gospel? This question again struck me over the last two weekends when travels placed me in historic downtowns. When traveling on Sundays…

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A New Wesleyan Political Witness

October 9, 2014

Here’s my message today at Asbury Theological Seminary during chapel for the new Wesleyan Holiness Pentecostal Studies Center. It’s a pleasure and honor to speak at Asbury, with which I’ve long felt a deep…


Momentous News for United Methodism

October 7, 2014

The once controversial General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) is leaving New York for Atlanta, with some of its staff relocating to overseas regional offices. Here’s the United Methodist News Service report. One of…


Religiously Omnigender Bathroom Justice

October 5, 2014

Recently Harvard Divinity School posted signage outside one of its bathrooms advertising it as transgender/omnigender friendly. The sign inclusively included icons for male, female, and a combo of the two, plus handicapped. Harvard Divinity…


Franky Schaeffer & Russell Moore on Religious Liberty

October 4, 2014

This past Summer chronically angry Franky Schaeffer, the “atheist who believes in God” who’s made a career of denouncing his late theologian father Francis Schaeffer, issued an “open letter” to Evangelicals imploring them to…


Appealing Ecumenically to the Catholic Bishops’ Synod on the Family

October 2, 2014

A significant group of both Catholic and Protestant thinkers and luminaries are urging the upcoming Catholic bishops’ synod on the family in Rome to robustly address threats to church teachings on marriage and family….


George Will the Atheist and FDR the Christian

September 24, 2014

In an interview with a Nick Hahn, conservative columnist George Will admitted frankly that he is an atheist. “An agnostic is someone who is not sure; I’m pretty sure,” Will said. “I see no…


Climate, Fossil Fuels & the Global Poor

September 19, 2014

The Cornwall Alliance has organized “Protect the Poor: Ten Reasons to Oppose Harmful Climate Change Policies.” It urges prioritizing the interests of the global poor by prioritizing the wider availability of cheap energy, which…