MEDIA

Whoopi Goldberg Says Black Church Burnings Are 'Not Going To Stop People’s Faith’

The Louisiana congregations "can celebrate their relationship with God outside," the co-host of "The View" pointed out.

Whoopi Goldberg delivered a message of resilience and support to worshipers displaced by recent suspicious fires that destroyed three historically black churches in Louisiana.

“It occurs to me that people think if you burn the church, you’re going to hurt the people,” Goldberg said while co-hosting Tuesday’s broadcast of “The View.” “But people can celebrate their relationship with God outside. They don’t need the building.”

Fires have struck three churches within 10 days in St. Landry Parish, beginning on March 26 at St. Mary Baptist Church in Port Barre. Greater Union Baptist Church in Opelousas was struck on April 2, and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, in the same town, burned on April 4.

Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning called the cases suspicious, but said authorities haven’t found evidence to confirm they’re linked.

To anyone engaging in arson or other acts of violence toward religious communities, Goldberg offered some advice:

“Maybe if you have an issue, don’t burn the church, don’t shoot the people. Have your conversation with the god that you’re pissed at.”

She added: “You don’t realize that you’re not going to stop people’s faith,” she said. “You’re not going to stop the conversation with God.”

She’s not alone in that view.

Mount Pleasant Baptist’s pastor, the Rev. Gerald Toussaint, called the damage to his church “heartbreaking,” but pointed out that “just because you burn a building doesn’t mean you can destroy the church.”

“You can’t destroy the church because the church is in the people, not the building,” Toussaint told The Acadiana Advocate last week.

CONVERSATIONS