2008-06-16 12:09:21 GMT 2008-06-16 20:09:21 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English
U.S. presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) arrives for services at the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago, June 15, 2008. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
U.S. presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama's (D-IL) wife Michelle (3rd L) and their daughters Sasha, 7, and Malia, 9, listen as he speaks during services at Apostolic Church of God in Chicago June 15, 2008. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
BEIJING, June 16 (Xinhuanet) -- U.S. presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama celebrated Father's Day by calling on black fathers to become more active in raising their children.
Obama, accompanied by his wife Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia, took part in Father's Day services near their house at the Apostolic Church of God -- a large, predominantly black church in the South Side of Chicago.
In his 30-minute speech, Obama spoke about the particular struggles of African Americans and noted that more than half of all black children live in single-parent households.
"What I've realized is that life doesn't count for much unless you're willing to do your small part to leave our children -- all of our children -- a better world," he said.
The Illinois senator said American men need to become more responsible parents. He criticized African-American fathers who "have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men."
Obama bluntly said: "Any fool can have a child. That doesn't make you a father. It's the courage to raise a child that makes you a father."
Obama reminded the congregation of his firsthand experience growing up without a dad. The Illinois senator 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's father left when he was 2.
This was Obama's first time attending a church service since he announced last month that he had quit Trinity United Church of Christ, which he had attended for 16 years, as he sought to calm concerns about comments by pastors there.
The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee heads back to the campaign trail on Monday with a trip to Michigan, a key state in his November face-off with Republican candidate John McCain.