Barack and Baby Daddies

(photo: KRT Illustrations)

Barack Obama understands intimately the profound problems that fatherless families pose for the black community.

The title of Obama’s 2004 autobiography, “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance,” alludes to his experience of searching for his identity after growing up in a family without the presence of his Kenyan-born father.

Obama’s campaign website contains a section entitled “Strengthen fatherhood and families,” in which the president-elect pledges to fund “support services for fathers and their families.”

And as a dedicated parent of two young daughters, Obama is acquainted on a day-to-day basis with the challenge of striving to be a great dad to his kids.

All this suggests that finding ways to address the epidemic of fatherlessness that plagues America’s black community could be one of the key areas where the incoming president can make common cause with Christians.

“My colleagues have also said to me that [Obama’s] election is a platform for addressing issues that no white politician dares touch, such as black absentee fatherhood,” the Rev. Richard Cizik, vice president of the National Association of Evangelicals, said in a Nov. 5 conference call sponsored by the Faith In Public Life organization. “I agree with them.”

Catholic organizations like the Knights of Columbus have a wealth of expertise in forming fathers, and they’d love to share it with our next president.

How might Catholics contribute to Barack Obama’s plans to address the issue of fatherhood? Register Staff Writer Joe Pronechen will take an in-depth look at this important topic in an upcoming issue. Watch for it!

— Tom McFeely