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.




Church World Service & the Castros

July 24, 2015

Church World Service, the semi-autonomous relief arm of the National Council of Churches, applauded this week’s normalization of U.S. relations with Communist Cuba. “Years of dedicated, strategic and consistent ecumenical advocacy by CWS and…


IRD President’s New Book on U.S. Civil War’s Origins

July 23, 2015

As many Americans ponder the legacy of the Confederacy, slavery and Civil War, IRD President Mark Tooley has published a new book on the last major effort to avert the Civil War.


Walking Out on Catholic Bishop?

July 22, 2015

In a Washington Post column called “Civilities,” a lesbian mother, worried about being “insulted,” asked the columnist if she and her partner with their daughters should walk out of their Catholic church if their…


Clergy in Politics?

July 18, 2015

Canadian theologian John Stackhouse has suggested “Top 10 Reasons Pastors Should Avoid Politics.” They are thoughtful but some need response. Here they are in ascending order: 10. Because no one trained you properly to…


IRD: Be Wary of Unintended Consequences in Iran Nuclear Deal

July 17, 2015

“Christians in sync with historic church teaching and human reality must appreciate the dangers of this accommodation with Iran’s Shiite theocracy,” says IRD’s Mark Tooley.

book review

Mark Tooley Reviews “A Change of Heart” by Thomas Oden

July 13, 2015

(This piece originally appeared at The Weekly Standard) Thomas Oden is a Methodist, ecumenist, evangelical, and patristics scholar who was dissuaded from liberal modernism by a Jewish conservative, becoming himself a theological paleo-orthodox and…


Methodism’s Alternative to Libertarianism & the Benedict Option

July 13, 2015

Does the Methodist example of social engagement offer Christians and traditionalists a constructive alternative today to cultural withdrawal and/or cultural conformity?  Some Christians despairing of America after the imposition of same sex marriage are…

photo credit: First Things

Mark Tooley in First Things: National Cathedral & Confederate Windows

July 10, 2015

(This piece originally appeared at First Things) The Dean of the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., which is an Episcopal Church institution but serves as a place for national religious pageantry, wants to remove…


Surge in Black Church Burnings?

July 6, 2015

Media reports of the last week have speculated that recent fires at black churches are racist arsons somehow linked to the horrible murders at the historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina. A July…


Can Christians Still Celebrate July 4 after Same Sex Marriage?

July 4, 2015

Conservative Christians are in a funk after the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling. Some have wondered if traditional Christians, especially Evangelicals, typically known for their patriotic ardor, will ever think of America the same…


IRD: United Church of Christ Votes to Divest from Israel

June 30, 2015

“The fast declining United Church of Christ’s vote today to divest from and boycott businesses doing business with Israel is sad but fortunately mostly inconsequential.”

(Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

IRD: Supreme Court Marriage Ruling ‘Fashion Over Law’

June 26, 2015

“There are no winners, and the biggest losers are children in America who are the chief victims of the breakdown of marriage and family,” says IRD’s Mark Tooley on the Supreme Court ruling.