Barack Obama celebrated Father's Day by calling on black fathers, who he said are “missing from too many lives and too many homes,” to become active in raising their children.
“They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it,” the Democratic presidential candidate said Sunday at a largely black church in his hometown.
Obama's father left when he was 2. He said he was lucky to have loving grandparents who helped his mother. He also 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,” said Obama, an Illinois senator.
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“I resolved many years ago that it was my obligation to break the cycle, that if I could be anything in life, I would be a good father to my girls,” added Obama, whose daughters, Sasha and Malia, and his wife, Michelle, watched from the audience.
Obama's appearance at the Apostolic Church of God was his first address to a church since he ended his membership at Trinity United Church of Christ, where he had worshipped for 20 years, following inflammatory remarks there by his former longtime pastor and others.
Obama frequently emphasized the importance of God in his life and ended by asking the congregation to “Pray for me. Pray for Michelle.”