CV NEWS FEED // When a Louisiana farmer lost two-thirds of his business after sharing an Instagram post honoring the Sacred Heart of Jesus and questioning the value of “LGBTQ pride”, he received so much support that he is now raising money to build a church.
After small business owner and farmer Ross McKnight posted some “antidotes to false pride” on Instagram on June 2, Louisiana restaurants withdrew their business from him for expressing his religious beliefs. But after his story broke on June 9, people across the nation reached out to support him and his family.
“The experience of the last two and half weeks has certainly been extraordinary, with the action of Divine Providence being very clear and present,” McKnight told CatholicVote.
“We’re simply honored to have been able to be useful in some way in the promotion of the Sacred Heart of Jesus,” McKnight continued. “We’re overwhelmed by the generosity of those who have supported us with prayer, encouragement, and with monetary donations (of which we now have no further need).”
In his original post, McKnight referred to “LGBTQ pride” month as an “attempted coup of the month of June” through “false pride.” The antidote, McKnight said, is devotion to the Sacred Heart.
“As is our tradition, enthrone the Sacred Heart in your home,” he wrote in the post. “Wear the Sacred Heart as a badge.”
But hours later, some of McKnight’s customers, including two high-end restaurants in New Orleans, canceled their orders.
“Recently, we received two texts from two restaurant owners who have decided that they’ve had enough of our Catholicism based on our latest Instagram feed post and have canceled their large, recurring orders,” McKnight wrote in an Instagram post featuring a picture of him, his wife, and his five children.
The homesteading family of seven raises livestock for restaurants and customers throughout Louisiana.
For McKnight, his family, and other Louisiana Catholics, the Sacred Heart is a connection to their French heritage in addition to their Catholic faith. The devotion to the Sacred Heart began in the 1670s with a French nun, Margaret Mary Alacoque.
“Pray the Rosary for the conversion of souls. Pray it in French,” McKnight wrote in the original post.
In light of his recent media attention, McKnight opened an online store to raise funds for a church in his community. Proceeds from the store, which sells Sacred Heart memorabilia,will help build a chapel for McKnight’s Traditional Latin mass community.
The site sells t-shirts, onesies, mugs, and pint glasses depicting the Sacred Heart. Underneath the heart reads the phrase “dieu le roi” meaning God is King.
The campaign was a way to inspire devotion to the Sacred Heart by “spreading the symbol,” “contributing to the practical needs” of the church, and “giving honor to God,” McKnight explained in an email.
So far, he has raised over $1000 for the local church, and is happy about the spread of the image of the Sacred Heart, featured on all the merchandise.
“The love of God has certainly been bestowed upon us in abundance. We pray we can become worthy representatives of Him,” said McKnight. “Ave Maria! Vive Le Sacré-Coeur!”