CBNNews.com - This Father's Day Senator Barack Obama took time off from his two week economic tour to issue a plea to dads everywhere - particularly African American fathers.
Addressing a packed congregation at the Apostolic Church of God, one of Chicago's largest black churches, he said that far too many fathers abandon their primary responsibilities.
"We need fathers to realize that responsibility does not end at conception," he said.
"Any fool can have a child," said Obama, drawing laughter from his audience. "That doesn't make you a father. It's the courage to raise a child that makes a father."
It's a sensitive issue for Obama. His own father left his mother when he was just two-years old.
He said that he "was lucky to have loving grandparents who helped his mother. I got support, second chances and scholarships that helped him get an education. A lot of children don't get those chances. There is no margin for error in their lives."
The Democratic nominee said that families suffer when children are forced to be reared in single-parent homes.
He said that's especially true among African Americans.
"Too many fathers are M.I.A, too many fathers are AWOL, missing from too many lives and too many homes," Obama said. "They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it."
He also urged black Americans to strive for excellence and to cease praising one another for "mediocre accomplishments," according to the New York Times.
"Don't get carried away with that eighth-grade graduation," he said. "You're supposed to graduate from eighth grade."
Today, more than half of all black children are raised in single-parent homes.
Studies show that being a one parent household makes these children five-times more likely to live in poverty, and 20 times more likely to end up in prison.
Source: The Associated Press, The New York Times, Bulletin News