In his remarks reported by the Daily Telegraph, he noted that opponents of religion try and “impose” their “politically correct intolerance", adding: “I’ve stopped an attempt by militant atheists to ban councils having prayers at the start of meetings if they wish. Heaven forbid. We’re a Christian nation. We have an established church. Get over it. And don’t impose your politically correct intolerance on others.”
Pickles is a long-standing defender of the freedom of religion. In 2012 he made a stand against companies that sought to ban employees wearing religious symbols as jewellery. Last year he criticised the previous Labour government for trying to diminish Christianity in Britain.
In his recent comments, Pickles added: “This Government has backed British values. And we’ve stopped Whitehall appeasing extremism of any sort. Be it the EDL, be it extreme Islamists or be thuggish far-left, they’re all as bad as each other."
In 2011, the British Census revealed that 59 percent of Brits define themselves as 'Christian', a decline of 13 percent over 10 years. A poll conducted in the same year found that only around 34 percent of Brits believe in a God.
Last week, Britain's only Muslim Cabinet Minister Baroness Warsi, described scientist and author Richard Dawkins as a 'secular fundamentalist'.
Writing on the National Secular Society's website, blogger George Gillett said that "criticisms targeted at atheists and secularists almost indiscriminately, represent a grave misunderstanding" and that "Secularism isn't a radical movement trying to destroy all religion, it only aims to stop state preference for a single religion, in order to grant all beliefs equality under the law."