OPELOUSAS, La. -- Speaking in front of the remains of an African American church in Louisiana torched by an arsonist, Vice President Mike Pence says attacks on communities of faith have become "all too frequent."
Pence was meeting with parishioners and pastors of the three churches that were burned in March and April. He spoke Friday at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Opelousas.
He praised the church members for their response to the blazes — particularly the forgiveness offered to the man accused of setting the blazes — and said their faith and courage has inspired the nation.
A local sheriff's deputy's 21-year-old son, Holden Matthews, has been charged with offenses including arson in burnings. He has pleaded not guilty.
A crowdfunding campaign for the churches' restoration has raised more than $2.1 million.