BOB ABERNETHY, anchor: Now a look at the President as Pastor. At the Houston memorial service, and again at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, Mr. Bush referred to God, and faith, several times. Religious imagery has become a hallmark of his speeches, prompting debate about whether such language unites or divides. Kim Lawton reports.
President George Bush in Houston: It is a desire written in the human heart.
President Bush: In the words of the prophet Isaiah, "Lift your eyes and look to the heavens."
President Bush at National Prayer Breakfast: The Almighty God is a God to everybody.
KIM LAWTON: There were times this past week when President Bush sounded more like a preacher than a politician.
President Bush at National Prayer Breakfast: Events aren't moved by blind change and chance. Behind all of life and all of history, there's a dedication and purpose, set by the hand of a just and faithful God.
Dr. ELAINE PAGELS (Religion Professor, Princeton University): Other presidents certainly have used biblical language. But in recent memory, I cannot think of anyone who has used the language in the way that this man has.
LAWTON: Bush -- who describes himself as a born-again Methodist -- works with a team of speechwriters, headed by Michael Gerson, an evangelical Christian. Bush's speeches frequently reflect his religious beliefs, something that has garnered praise -- and provoked criticism.
Religion Professor Elaine Pagels is among those concerned.
Dr. PAGELS: Many people think that religion is essentially benign. But religion has also been, as we know in the history of humankind, enormously divisive as well. It can reinforce divisions; It can demonize the opposition. It can imply that anyone who is not Christian, much less evangelical, is not a real American.
RICHARD CIZIK (National Association of Evangelicals): Americans not only expect this language of their presidents, but they respect it. This is a nation with a soul of a church. This is religious language for a religious people, and Americans are comfortable with it.
LAWTON: Bush is following a long Presidential tradition of public religious speech.
Professor STEVE TIPTON (Emory University): This kind of civil religious rhetoric can and should be not just biblical in resonance and cadence, but not specific to this or that denomination or even faith tradition. There is an effort, certainly, in Mike Gerson's writing to make this kind of unifying embrace rather than to say explicitly "Christ Jesus." But there are these evangelical resonances.
LAWTON: Sometimes Bush's religious references can be subtle.