Contrary to their reputation as proselytizers, evangelicals tend to de-emphasize their religious beliefs, new research indicates that evangelicals actually downplay religious expression when working with religiously diverse and secular groups. In a study of multifaith initiatives in Boston, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon published in the online magazine The Conversation (March 3, 2020), sociologists Brad Fulton, Wes Markofski and Richard L. Wood looked at white evangelicals living in urban and suburban settings, involved in collaborations, such as policy advocacy organizations and volunteer initiatives like Serving the City in Portland. In such religiously diverse and secular contexts, evangelicals tend to downplay religious expression. In one case, they found that when the 26,000 evangelicals from 500 churches volunteered with Portland’s Serving the City initiative, they adopted a self-imposed “no-proselytizing” policy as they helped with cleaning up parks, refurbishing schools and conducting clothing drives. These evangelicals said they want to simply serve their neighbors. They cite one evangelical leader as saying, “The reason this works … is that we’ve agreed to play by the rules: serving with no strings attached.”

The study found evangelicals adopting a similar approach in various parts of the U.S., including
more liberal and secular places like New England and the West Coast as well as the more religious South. The researchers’ findings extend to politically centrist and conservative evangelical organizations rather than the small segment of more liberal evangelicals. A larger study, the National Study of Community Organizing, of 3,225 religious congregations involved in 178 community organizing efforts indicate that white evangelicals are more likely to participate in coalitions that display minimal religious expression. Participating white evangelical congregations are twice as likely to join a coalition that does not open or close its meetings with prayer.

(The Conversation,


Although populism and Catholicism have been associated in Poland, a study finds a weak association between religiosity and populist support, with the former even having a preventative effect on the latter. The study, conducted by Agnieszka Turska-Kawa and Waldemar Wojtasik and published in the Romanian-based Journal for the Study of Religions and 
(Spring, 2020), is based on a nationwide survey of 950 people throughout Poland measuring attitudes on religion and populism. The analysis found that in the segment of people with the highest declared religiosity displayed less of a tendency to “antagonize the relationship between ordinary people and elites…they do not manifest a clear priority of the needs of average people versus the views of social and political elites.” They further conclude that “religiosity coexisting with lower levels of populism may serve as a kind of umbrella protecting from populist attitudes.” The results may partly be explained by the relationship between religiosity and political parties, where the two mainstream parties already refer to Christian values.

(Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies,