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Mr. Cameron recently urged the Church of England to lead a revival of traditional Christian values to counter the “slow-motion moral collapse” that led to the August riots in England.

This week, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles condemned a High Court ruling that a town council in southwest England must stop holding prayers at the start of meetings.

“We are a Christian country,” Mr. Pickles said.

Traditionally, that is true. The Church of England is the country’s established church, with Queen Elizabeth II as its temporal head. Bishops help make laws as members of the House of Lords.

In the 2001 census - the last for which full results are available - almost 72 percent of people identified themselves as Christian. But most Britons are not regular churchgoers, and many see Christianity as a loose cultural identity rather than a strong faith.