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




United Methodist General Conferrence Analysis

May 23, 2016

United Methodist General Conference 2016, good or bad? Mostly on the whole, good! What had initially seemed potentially bad, the deferral of plenary votes on sexuality in favor of a bishops’ appointed commission, turns…

General Conference

The Methodist Surprise in Portland

May 23, 2016

Methodist lobbyists who in 1973 founded RCRC in the bracing days after Roe v. Wade would likely be surprised by their church’s departure.


Methodist Perseverance

May 20, 2016

On May 19 history was made. The United Methodist General Conference, representing a 12 million member denomination, voted to withdraw its church agencies from a Washington lobby that opposes all restrictions on abortion.


United Methodist Sex & Gridlock

May 19, 2016

The United Methodist Church’s bishops succeeded once again in suppressing prolonged and divisive plenary debate over sex at their denomination’s quadrennial governing General Conference, meeting May 10-20 in Portland, Oregon.


United Methodist Controversy & Bric-à-brac

May 14, 2016

Not every moment at United Methodist General Conference is controversial or unpleasant.

Photo Credit: Andrew Hall | Used under the Creative Commons license:

A Methodist Culture-War Showdown

May 13, 2016

Will United Methodism turn inward and remain a mostly liberal Protestant church? Or will it become increasingly evangelical and global?


United Methodist Rule 44, Dysfunction & Health

May 12, 2016

The governing body of the global United Methodist Church has taken a key vote indicating an orthodox majority likely to reaffirm the denomination’s traditional marriage teaching.


Denominations, Methodism, Trumpism & Ecclesiology

May 4, 2016

Much of the Trump and Bernie Sanders movements wants to blow up the “system,” whatever it is, believing it is inextricably corrupt, and not caring very much about what if anything would replace it.


United Methodist Controversy & Future

April 25, 2016

It’s tempting to yawn over retired United Methodist Melvin Talbert’s latest same sex rite, this time at a Charlotte church, a nearly all white congregation with few young people and a membership and attendance…


Harriet Tubman, Methodist

April 21, 2016

Harriet Tubman, an escaped slave who rose to become a famous abolitionist, Underground Railroad leader, and social reformer, will soon appear on the $20 bill.


The Peacenik Campaign to Kill Just War

April 20, 2016

Will the Catholic Church reject all use of military force? Mark Tooley comments on the Vatican’s stance on Just War in The Detroit News.


Happy Birthday & Thanks Thomas Jefferson

April 14, 2016

April 13 was the birthday of Thomas Jefferson, to whom everyone who values human equality and liberty owes everlasting thanks.