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; Methodism and Politics in the 20th Century, published in 2012; and The Peace That Almost Was: The Forgotten Story of the 1861 Washington Peace Conference and the Final Attempt to Avert the Civil War, published in 2015. 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.

Follow Mark on Twitter: @markdtooley



Pocahontas's baptism.

Ancient Anglican Virginia & Pocahontas’s Baptismal Font

December 1, 2015

Bruton Parish Church in Colonial Williamsburg is restored to its pre-Revolutionary War appearance. It is believed this baptismal font came from an English church and could be 500 years or more old.

Thanksgiving Dinner

IRD: Thanksgiving “models harmony possible by divine grace and good will”

November 24, 2015

IRD President Mark Tooley reminds us all that this Thanksgiving there is much reason for gratitude, and as always even more reason for prayer on behalf of many globally who lack religious liberty.


Pilgrims, Indians, God & Scheming

November 24, 2015

The Thanksgiving story, or mythologized versions of it, once was sacrosanct before targetted by a hyper political correctness anxious to discredit any hint of early American nobility. But this week there was a welcome…


Julia Roberts, Jesus & the Real World

November 23, 2015

Secret in Their Eyes features Julia Roberts as an FBI agent on a post 9-11 anti-terrorism task force whose teenage daughter is raped and murdered.  The presumed killer is an FBI informant, and there’s…


African United Methodist Bishops Speak

November 19, 2015

Recently 14 United Methodist bishops in Africa, collectively representing 5 million United Methodists in Africa’s growing churches, spoke out remarkably on the topics of terrorism and marriage.


A German Chancellor, a Soviet Spy & Paris Terror

November 14, 2015

Reports about the Paris terror strikes were circulating when I entered the theater to watch Bridge of Spies, an account of the captured Soviet spy who was exchanged for downed U.S. spy pilot Gary…


Starbucks & Christmas

November 10, 2015

A previously obscure online eccentric evangelist has criticized Starbucks’ new plain holiday season cups denuded of traditional secular Christmas symbols, like snow flakes, as anti-Christian, igniting lots of media buzz and online chatter.


IRD Launches Journal Examining U.S. Foreign Policy from Christian Perspective

November 4, 2015

Evangelical Christians are among the most influential groups of activists and voters in America today. Yet, when it comes to scholarly discussion of international affairs, conservative evangelicals are astonishingly underrepresented.


VIDEO: Rediscovering Protestant Just War Tradition

November 3, 2015

We’re very excited to launch our new Providence Journal, which aims to create a new community of Evangelical and Protestant thinkers on foreign policy.


Religious Suicide Protest

November 3, 2015

A very sad and disturbing Washington Post story recalls a young Quaker activist who fifty yeas ago set himself afire at the Pentagon to protest the Vietnam War.


Saints & Reformation

November 1, 2015

Today is All Saints Day and yesterday was Reformation Day, a time for honoring departed servants of God and, in the latter, specifically recalling among them the Protestant Reformers. Many, likely most, Evangelical churches…


My Remarks to World Congress of Families IX

October 30, 2015

(Here are my October 29, 2015 remarks at the World Congress of Families IX in Salt Lake City.) Many religious institutions in America no longer want to defend marriage, family and life because their…