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Grace France

History, University of Birmingham

Thesis title:

Doing the Right Thing: an exploration of the organisation and mobilisation of moral conservatism, 1950-1990

Thesis Description:

Doing the Right Thing explores the moral conservative group Moral Re-Armament, who operated in Britain from 1938 until present day. Moral Re-Armament – who were originally known as the Oxford Group – promoted the belief that by following the four “absolutes” of honesty, purity, unselfishness, and love, alongside “listening to God” for daily guidance, man could find their way back to a life led by Christ. This life led by Christ would meet the challenges of the modern world – such as growing permissiveness, growing materialism, growing communism – and inspire a revolution, based on a return to God’s teachings.

 Members, and supporters of Moral Re-Armament, were mobilising against a perceived threat to their core values of Christianity and moral restraint; shedding light on these individuals disrupts existing histories of sexuality and religion in modern Britain.

Doing the Right Thing  will use Moral Re-Armament to paint a bigger picture of a changing Britain which was home to many who were unhappy about the changes; of Britons trying to navigate the new moral landscape presented to them throughout the decades; be it bigger changes such as the emergence of Page Three, the growing influence of Communism, the introduction of the contraceptive pill, the legalisation of homosexuality, or minor incidents such as a crude joke or ‘pornographic’ billboard. The existence of a group like Moral Re-Armament – as well as the strong support which they received – sheds light on a portion of British society who were strong in their faith and even stronger in the unwavering moral values.

Research Area

  • History