…starts with Sen. Barack Obama’s Father’s Day speech to a church
congregation in Chicago, a very strong message similar to the one Bill
Cosby has devoted himself to for many years now: the role and
responsibility fathers have to their families.

It got wide coverage.

ABC World News opened its Sunday evening newscast with a
long report on Sen. Barack Obama’s Father’s Day speech before a
“largely black church in Chicago,” where he delivered “a rather blunt
message to African-American men. He said too many black fathers are
absent from their children’s lives. ‘We need fathers to realize that
responsibility does not end at conception,’ he said.

(see post below)

The AP reports Obama, “reminding the congregation of his
firsthand experience growing up without a father,” said he “was lucky
to have loving grandparents who helped his mother. He got support,
second chances and scholarships that helped him get an education.”
Obama said, “A lot of children don’t get those chances. There is no
margin for error in their lives.”

His mother and grandparents played such a primary and formative role
in Obama’s life. It’s good to hear him refer to them a bit more.

The Wall Street Journal says the “wide-ranging speech on
fatherhood isn’t the first time” Obama “has stepped in with a self-help
edge for parents. Earlier in the campaign he delivered a speech in
South Carolina where he discussed the epidemic of absentee fathers and
its impact on the economy. His standard stump speech includes a line
that ‘parents have to parent’ and ‘put down the video games,’ one of
his biggest applause lines.”

It’s a start, to making families a serious and central concern for
society, in more than a general way. The way Carolyn Moynihan points
out here.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....