Conservative minister Eric Pickles has told "militant atheists" who do not accept Britain is a Christian nation to "get over it".
Addressing the Conservative Spring Forum in London, the Communities Secretary said non-believers should not be able to impose "politically correct intolerance" on others.
He said those opposed to prayers at the start of council meetings should, "get over it. And don't impose your politically correct intolerance on others".
Mr Pickles changed the law in 2012 to ensure that English parish councils could not face legal challenges for including prayers in public meetings.