President Obama is celebrating Father's Day a day late this year, after giving a nod to nontraditional fathers in his official proclamation.
Mr. Obama is joining leaders of fatherhood groups, women's organizations, the NFL Players Association and the National PTA, at an inner city arts and recreation campus, to launch a drive to promote responsible fatherhood and to re-engage absent fathers with their families.
His Father's Day proclamation said nurturing families come in many forms and children may be raised, "by a father and mother, a single father, two fathers, a step father, a grandfather or caring guardian." It's the first time "two fathers" has made that list. CBN writer David Brody says Mr. Obama is "running the risk of alienating networks of pastors and church goers."
His proclamation also offers praise for "those parents serving in the United States Armed Forces" whose responsibilities separate them from their families. The President would add non-traditional families to the military community, by doing away with the "don't ask - don't tell" rule.
In today's speech, President Obama will stress the importance of being there. His prepared remarks include the observation "we can't legislate fatherhood...but what we can do is send a clear message to our fathers that there is no excuse for failing to meet their obligations."
Last year, the President called on American men to be better fathers than his own. Barack Hussein Obama Sr. left a family in Kenya to get his schooling in the United States. He started another family here, then left his second wife when the future president was 2, to return to Africa.
Mr. Obama said he was raised by a "heroic mom and wonderful grandparents" but that, he said, "doesn't mean that I didn't feel my father's absence. That's something that leaves a hole in a child's heart that a government can't fill."
Despite the consuming pressures of being leader of the free world, Mr. Obama says his most challenging and fulfilling job is being Malia and Sasha's father. It's also a job he says he's made plenty of mistakes at, observing "I've lost count of all the time when the demands of work have taken me from the duties of fatherhood."
The seeds of today's event were planted during the 2008 campaign, when then Senator Obama told a group at a Chicago church, "Too many fathers are MIA. Too many fathers are AWOL." He said "-- we know the damage that that does to our families...Children who grow up without fathers are more likely to drop out of school and wind up in prison. They're more likely to have substance abuse problems, run away from home, and become teenage parents themselves."