Letter from the President

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the website for the Institute on Religion & Democracy. We are a watchdog of the religious and evangelical left, disputing their claims to represent millions of church members when espousing a liberal or far-left political agenda. We believe the Church should be the Church, proclaiming the Gospel, discipling believers, assisting the needy, and teaching broad principles for a better society without becoming narrowly political. Our unity as Christians is based on our faith in Jesus Christ, not positions on secular legislation.

IRD is especially committed to reforming the social witness of the churches. In 1981, IRD was founded by concerned United Methodists and other Christians distressed that denominational and ecumenical officials were openly supporting Marxist causes and opposing democracy and human rights.

We continue to monitor and report on similar egregious political shenanigans. Many church elites, often claiming to speak on our behalf, lobby for abortion rights, homosexual rights, big government, extreme environmentalism, pacifism, and anti-Americanism. IRD strives to be a voice for church members whom church bureaucrats would prefer to ignore. We connect church members with renewal groups who believe in biblical and historic Christianity. And we teach them how to work for change in their denominations—with a focus on the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA), and the Anglican Communion.

The IRD also has a strong commitment to international religious liberty. If the churches will not defend international religious freedom and will not speak on behalf of persecuted Christians and others around the world, then who will? Too often, church elites in the U.S. are silent about Marxist, Islamist, or other repression of religion and human rights, in favor of dialogue and accommodation. IRD believes Christians and their church leaders should be bold on behalf of those persecuted believers who cannot speak from behind their prison walls.

Finally, the IRD does policy research. Our expertise in the mainline denominations, ecumenical para-church organizations (National Council of Churches, World Council of Churches, National Association of Evangelicals), and church renewal movements allow us to address with authority topics that, while vital to the national and international debates, are barely on the radar screen at other policy institutes. We have recently published papers on Christians and the environment, and on defending traditional marriage. We have provided broad-based talking points for Christians on the Middle East and immigration.

We keep our constituents informed through our website, emails, and our quarterly magazine, Faith & Freedom, which covers the critical issues facing us and offers expert analysis of the trends in America’s churches. We also speak through religious and secular newspapers, magazines, television, and radio.

In all we do, IRD makes the arguments for a responsible and informed Christian witness in society. We exist to serve you as we work together for the restoration of Christ’s church to the glory of Father, Son, and Spirit. Won’t you consider supporting IRD’s ministry for church reform and accountability? For a donation of $35 or more, we will send you Faith & Freedom as well as other regular updates. Your gift of $50, $100, $250, or more will help IRD confront the claims of the religious left and lift high the traditional Gospel of Jesus Christ. Please join us in this vital and rewarding work by clicking HERE.

Warmly in Christ,

Mark Tooley
Institute on Religion and Democracy