Tooley, the United Methodist?: @TheIRD Prez Takes Aim At Moderation, Tolerance in Wake of Libyan Slaughter


Mark Tooley carelessly criticizes caring Christians for cheap political and theological points, any chance he gets.

Por ejemplo…

Tooley’s latest screed was published by the American Spectator, and is a mush of attacks on conservative UM seminary deans, ecumenical group leaders and…”liberal religionists?”  Whatever that is…

He even mentioned Terry Jones, the Florida pastor who very publicly threatened to burn a Koran.

I would try to break the article down for you in detail, but it appears that Tooley just threw a bunch of “conservative religionist” talking points onto a page–in hopes that it would make sense.  He criticizes Perkins School of Theology dean William Lawrence–no liberal–for pointing out that Christians don’t have any bugaboos against the likeness of Christ being flaunted, yet Muslims do.

Lawrence’s remarks rightly point out that Americans–believers or not–have no right to tell others how to believe.  Yet, Tooley acts as if Lawrence is giving cover for the perpetrators of this violence.  It should be noted that Lawrence didn’t condone the violence in Libya.

Neither did Welton Gaddy–of the Interfaith Alliance.  That didn’t stop Tooley from piling on to what he saw as religious liberalism run amuck.  Gaddy took more of a hard-line approach against American criticism of Islamic outrage.  The makers of the anti-Muhammed movie–widely believed to be the cause the protests–knew the risks of offending the Muslim faith, Gaddy notes.

Gaddy continued by pointing out that Libyans have just emerged from years of dictatorial rule, and believed that the film–rumored or not–was endorsed by the U.S. government.  Tooley claims that Christians–ever the oppressed majority–are routinely mocked without recourse.  While a straw-man question, Tooley asks, “Should only attacks on Islam merit special regard and protection?”

The implication is that “liberal religionists” believe the violence should be tolerated.  This is most certainly not the case.  The examples listed by Tooley are those of the concerned attempting to bring rationality into an issue where irrationality could easily triumph.

The real tragedy of these events is that there are four American foreign service workers–an American ambassador included–who died in a senseless attack.  Evidence of which exists to say their deaths were unrelated, though coincidental.  Our prayers are with their families.

Which brings me to my point.  Mark Tooley wasted no time in responding to the latest mid-east upheaval with the same chest-thumping he appears to display everywhere else.  My question is: why?

Christ, John Wesley and the United Methodist Book of Discipline are very tempered when it comes to issues of violence and war.  Why would the president of a United Methodist-related Washington think-tank be so quick to criticize thoughtful responses to tragic and volatile circumstances, when the very tradition from which he comes is historically temperate?

Also, I noted no mention of prayer or concern for the victims and their families in Tooley’s words.  THAT should be the Christian’s first response to events like these.  Instead, a self-avowed United Methodist showed no restraint in coming to the worst conclusions about people half a world away–and right at home.

Granted, horror at the events of the last week is natural–and even noble.  However, that wasn’t the path Mark Tooley chose.  Sadly, I might add.

I hope–as a fellow United Methodist–he might show some restraint in the future.

4 comments on “Tooley, the United Methodist?: @TheIRD Prez Takes Aim At Moderation, Tolerance in Wake of Libyan Slaughter

  1. ejoelwatts
    September 17, 2012 at 8:37 AM #

    When you show up to the pearly gates and Tool is there, you are going to be really surprised.

  2. ejoelwatts
    September 17, 2012 at 8:37 AM #

    I mean there instead of St. Peter, because obviously Tool thinks he is at least the head Christian if not God himself.

    • Chris Tiedeman
      September 17, 2012 at 9:55 AM #

      …ey. Tool-ey. I’ll chop it up to an innocent mistake.


  1. Constantine, Hillary Clinton, Mark Tooley @TheIRD and a History of Christian Tolerance | - September 18, 2012

    […] In recent days, violent events in Libya and Egypt have been used as opportunities for liberals and conservatives to use their talking points. For conservatives and arc-conservatives like Mark Tooley of The Institute on Religion And Democracy, it’s see, I told you so, those Arabs are inherently wild, uncontrollable and violent, and they must be put down (under the foot of the U.S. Military of course!). See Mark Tooley’s: Libyan Horror as an example. Chris rightly responded to Tooley Tooley, the United Methodist?: The IRD Prez TAkes aim at Moderation, tolerance, in the wake of Libya… […]

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