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.




Denali vs. McKinley

September 2, 2015

By virtual presidential decree, the tallest mountain on the continent will be renamed from Mt. McKinley to Denali, which means “high one” or “great one” in local tribal language.  Apparently Alaska politicians long wanted…


Methodist Pilgrimage

August 31, 2015

Yesterday I fulfilled a longtime dream of pilgrimage to the oldest Methodist church in America, Saint George United Methodist in Philadelphia, dating to 1767. Everybody in early American Methodism was there at some point,…


Death of Methodist Friend (David Stanley 1928-2015)

August 27, 2015

IRD board member David Stanley died yesterday, age 86, just a few weeks after his dear wife of 67 years, Jeanie.  He was a marvelous man in every way: generous, smart, patient, kind, meticulous,…


A Weak Christian Response to Iranian Nukes That Could Make War More, Not Less, Likely

August 27, 2015

The National Council of Churches has organized a letter of religious voices effusively praising the Iran nuclear deal and urging Congress to support supposedly the “most robust monitoring and inspection regime every negotiated” that…


IRD: NCC Support for Iran Deal ‘Utopian’

August 26, 2015

The National Council of Churches has organized a letter of religious voices praising the Iran nuclear deal.


John Wesley & Planned Parenthood

August 22, 2015

What would John Wesley say about Planned Parenthood, especially during its current scandal over trafficking in the organs of aborted babies? Wesley’s emphasis was on spreading the Gospel, saving souls, renewing the church and…


American Churches and the Iran Nuclear Deal

August 21, 2015

Most church groups and prominent religious voices speaking to the Iran nuclear deal are supportive. Most notable among them is the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops. In April, Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces,…


God Bless America?

August 17, 2015

A thoughtful Religion News Service commentary notes that some conservative Christians are now troubled by the sentiment of “God Bless America” in a time of state imposed same sex marriage. This trend of spiritual…


Gore Vidal, William Buckley and God

August 15, 2015

The compelling new documentary Best of Enemies portrays William Buckley and Gore Vidal as parallel lives destined to clash, each embodying and foreshadowing 50 years of American culture wars. Buckley’s brother recounts that the founder…


IRD: Will Christian Universities Collapse or Give Strong Witness?

August 14, 2015

Several Christian colleges and universities are poised to depart the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities by the end of the summer if two institutions that revised their employment policies to allow the hiring of faculty and staff in same-sex marriages remain members.


Hiroshima & Nagasaki, Then & Tomorrow

August 13, 2015

Last week commemorated 70 years since the atomic blasts at Hiroshima and Nagasaki that ended WWII. This week will recall Japan’s eventual surrender, as the Emperor overruled his governing military chiefs who wanted a…


Jeremy Irons, Portugal & Hollywood’s Bias Against God

August 11, 2015

Why is Hollywood so determined to portray Christianity as a foe of political freedom when actually it is the originator and guarantor of it? The answers are obvious, sadly, but the ongoing results are…