Mark Tooley

Mark Tooley

Mark Tooley is IRD's president and editor of IRD's foreign policy and national security journal, Providence.

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



Abraham Lincoln

Methodist Recollection of Lincoln

February 11, 2016

Friday is Abraham Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Here’s how Methodist minister Rev. Bernard Nadal remembered Lincoln’s cordiality and mercy.

Hillary Clinton, Wesley, Reagan & Lincoln

Hillary Clinton, Wesley, Reagan & Lincoln

February 10, 2016

During her New Hampshire primary concession speech, Hillary Clinton, a lifelong Methodist, repeated a quote many wrongly attribute to John Wesley.

Women in Combat

Christian Pacifism & Women in Combat

February 9, 2016

What should be the role of women in combat? The silence so far of Christian pacifists on the debate maybe evinces a dilemma.


Thank You, Hillary Clinton

February 5, 2016

Last evening during her debate with Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton reiterated her support for capital punishment, explaining: “I do, for very limited, particularly heinous crimes believe [the death penalty] is an appropriate punishment”

Mainline Protestant Church

Mainline Death or Revival?

February 3, 2016

Mainline Protestantism’s rich traditions that allowed it centuries of evangelistic, culture shaping vitality could teach a lot to post-denominational Christianity.

Trump, Evangelicals & Security

Trump, Evangelicals & Security

January 29, 2016

Many Evangelicals are increasingly stressed about a dangerous world and hostile culture even as many Evangelical elites belittle these concerns by warning against “fear.”

Falwell Jr Trump

IRD: Evangelical Trump Endorsement Shows Religion’s Ongoing Influence

January 28, 2016

As voters in Iowa prepare for next week’s first-in-the-nation caucuses for the Republican and Democratic presidential nominations, pastors and other high-profile religious leaders are shaping the contests.

Falwell, Trump, Christianity & Nationalism

Falwell, Trump, Christianity & Nationalism

January 27, 2016

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr’s endorsement of Donald Trump has provoked important questions about Evangelicals in retail politics.


Methodists, Tom Oden & Abortion

January 23, 2016

Remarks were read from esteemed theologian Thomas Oden at the annual pro-life service hosted by Lifewatch in the United Methodist Building.

UMC Graphic on Divestment

United Methodists, Israel & Divestment

January 13, 2016

Activist groups for anti-Israel divestment, who typically don’t have many victories to celebrate, are touting divestment from five Israeli banks and a construction firm by the United Methodist Board of Pensions.

Worship through preaching Gospel

Politics & Worship

January 11, 2016

Should a political message ever displace Gospel proclamation during worship? A sermon in most circumstances should present timeless Gospel truths.

Wesley Option

Benedict Option, Wesleyan Option & United Methodists

January 7, 2016

The Wesleyan Option confronts secularism by renewing church and culture through small, outward focused disciple groups devoted to evangelism and good works.