In the 1940s and 1950s, Britain was relatively uniform in terms of race and religion. The majority of Britons adhered to the Church of England, although Anglo-Catholic leanings—the last gasp of the Oxford Movement—prompted some people to convert to Roman Catholicism. Although the secularization thesis has had a tenacious grip on twentieth-century literary studies, it does not account for the flare-up of interest in religion in mid-century Britain. The ecumenical movement, which began in the 1930s in Europe, went into suspension during the war, and returned with vigour after 1945, advocated international collaboration among Christian denominations and consequently overlapped with the promotion of human rights, especially the defence of freedom of worship, the right to privacy, freedom of conscience, and freedom of expression.
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