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.



Source: Wikimedia Commons

Nelson Rockefeller as Social Gospel Christian

May 20, 2015

Richard Norton Smith’s outstanding new biography of Nelson Rockefeller does not directly focus much on the religious beliefs of the wealthy scion and long-time presidential aspirant. But there are enough tidbits to imply that he…


Commemorating the Burning of Jan Hus

May 16, 2015

Czech church reformer Jan Hus was burned at the stake 600 years ago this summer.  Thursday evening I attended a commemoration at the Czech Embassy in Washington, DC, which included a thoughtful lecture followed…


The Nun & the Boston Bomber

May 14, 2015

Famous anti-death penalty campaigner Sister Helen Prejean, who inspired the Susan Sarandon movie “Dead Man Walking,” testified Monday on behalf of the Boston Bomber facing possible execution for murdering four, including an 8 year…


Pew Survey & Lament for Nominal Christianity

May 12, 2015

A new Pew survey shows the number of Americans identifying as Christians declining from 78% to 70% since 2007.  The religiously unaffiliated have increased from 15 to almost 23%.  Non-Christian religionists have increased from…

Graham House RH Marc LiVecche in the UChicago Creative studio Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013, at the University of Chicago.    (Photo by Robert Kozloff)

IRD Announces New Christian Ethicist on War & Peace

May 11, 2015

IRD announced today that Marc LiVecche has joined the institute as its new scholar on Christian ethics, war and peace.


A Campaign Poster Worth Remembering

May 9, 2015

This 1932 campaign poster for German President von Hindenburg presciently warns against the unsavory alternatives.  Communists are shown on the phone receiving instructions from Moscow, amid scarcity and breadlines.  Hitler and Nazis are shown…


My Prayer at Israel Embassy Solidarity Event

May 8, 2015

(Here’s my opening prayer at the annual Christian Solidarity Event on May 8 at the Israel Embassy in Washington, DC.) God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we…

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Do Pastors Know God’s Will on Medicaid Expansion? Seriously?

May 8, 2015

Recently a group of mostly liberal Protestant clergy (but including a Catholic bishop) signed a Nashville Tennessean op-ed denouncing conservative Tennessee legislators who oppose Obamacare-facilitated Medicaid expansion in their state. The headline was: “Elected leaders show…


Russell Crowe Amid Ottoman Political Correctness

May 6, 2015

Does Russell Crowe’s new WWI-era film The Water Diviner aim to demonize Christianity and exalt Islam? Or is it just a poignant story of an Australian father after the war searching for the bodies of his…


Recalling Saigon’s Fall

May 1, 2015

Here’s a marvelous story of the CIA operative who helped some of the 65,000 South Vietnamese who escaped in the final few days before Saigon fell to the Communists on April 30, 1975, just…


Baltimore Riots & the Vocation for Order

April 28, 2015

The Baltimore riots reminded me of a passage I read last eve from Richard Norton Smith’s excellent new Nelson Rockefeller biography about the 1971 Attica prison riot. About 1000 prisoners took over the New…


A Catholic Assassin & His Castrated Methodist Preacher Killer

April 26, 2015

Two weeks ago there was merited hoopla over Civil War commemorations, specifically the 150th anniversaries of Lee’s surrender and Lincoln’s assassination.  But neither, while momentous, fully ended the war.  Most Confederate forces were still…