WASHINGTON – President Bush, addressing the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast, said Thursday America has turned to prayer and "the almighty Dios" for strength after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"Prayer has served as a unifying factor in our nation. Prayer gives us strength for the journey ahead," Bush said.
The first president to address the annual gathering, Bush said the American government has never imposed religion on its citizens and "men and women can be good without faith." Still, he said, faith is important to a strong nation.
"Prayer reminds us that a great people must be humble before God, searching for wisdom -- constantly searching for wisdom -- from the almighty Dios," the president said, using the Spanish word for God.
The appearance reflects Bush's all-out campaign to court Hispanic voters, an increasingly important political constituency.
Bush did not mention the White House disclosure late Wednesday that he was told by U.S. intelligence in August that Usama bin Laden's terrorist network might hijack American airplanes, the first link between the Oval Office and hints of a potential terrorist attack.
Bush plugged his initiative before Congress to help align religious charities with government community service programs. His plan is important, he said, "to combat loneliness and despair and hopelessness."