Long before the left invented “pride month,” the Catholic Church dedicated June to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a tradition originating from the 17th-century visions of Christ received by French nun St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. Enter Ross McKnight, a Louisiana Catholic father of five and owner of Backwater Foie Gras, whose business is now under attack after he made an Instagram post on Sunday commemorating the Sacred Heart of Jesus that provided his followers with ways they can protect themselves from “false pride” and counter the “attempted coup of the month of June.”
McKnight’s post was fairly innocuous, encouraging his followers to adhere to the traditional liturgical calendar — instead of the new secular one — and to hold onto their French Catholic identity by “enthron[ing] the Sacred Heart in your home this month,” “Wear[ing] the Sacred Heart as a badge wherever you go,” “Pray[ing] the Rosary” in French, and reading his blog post titled, “This Tremendous Weight.”
“The push to have every mainstream value and holiday represented in some way in our Louisiana ought to make no sense at all to any Louisianais or Louisianaise, unless recognized as a forward offensive by an ever-encroaching enemy that has sought for generations to destroy our unique culture which is so intimately tied to our Catholic identity,” wrote McKnight.
Within a few hours of his Instagram post, several of McKnight’s customers, some of whom he had a personal relationship with, began canceling their orders. This included McKnight’s biggest clients — two high-end New Orleans restaurants that previously committed to buying from him throughout the summer.
“While we’ve never required our customers to pass a litmus test before serving them, it seems our values, which come from lives lived as Louisiana Catholics, are considered unacceptable by some,” McKnight wrote in a second Instagram post following the backlash.
McKnight supports his family exclusively through their pasture-based family farm. Harrison Weinhold, a patron of Backwater Foie Gras and friend of McKnight’s, told The Federalist that the canceled orders are costing the family somewhere between $6,000 to $10,000 a month in total revenue.
“He really sells just enough sort of to get by,” Weinhold said in a separate interview. “[The McKnights are] really homesteading out there. They live off of what they make.”
“We’re a tiny artisanal operation,” McKnight told The Federalist.
In a Twitter thread, Weinhold wrote that the restaurant owners who canceled their committed order are not from Louisiana; they are “transplants that [are] ruin[ing] the culture of a once great community, and are the type of virtue signaling leftists that are more than happy to persecute and ruin the lives of a native son and his family in the name of celebrating pride.”
McKnight told The Federalist that he frequently makes religious posts in commemoration of church solemnities and feast days. However, this time he felt particularly compelled to post about the Sacred Heart because the food and beverage industry, of which he is a part of, has gone all-in on pride month, something McKnight views as antithetical to his faith and cultural heritage as a French Catholic.
One of the farmers’ markets that McKnight is a member of put out a statement “celebrating pride month” and refused to take it down even after McKnight pointed out that statement could be interpreted as an endorsement of pride by all the individual vendors. In response to the farmers’ market’s pride statement, McKnight told The Federalist that he “put out a little sign that says, ‘celebrate humility’ with an image of the Sacred Heart.”
Since his Instagram post, nearly two-thirds of McKnight’s business has evaporated, putting him and his family in a dire financial situation. Yet when interviewed by The Federalist, McKnight expressed a baffling sense of peace and even joy. “There’s that animal need to have food and shelter and clothing — certainly,” and “I’m concerned,” said McKnight. “But I don’t know how to precisely explain myself … I’ve lost everything overnight, but the suffering is valuable,” he said.
“If we don’t stand here, on the last assault of the family, then there’s no more ground left behind us,” McKnight explained. For him and his wife and children, defending the traditional family unit, their culture, and their faith is more important than anything.
“It’s a simple and hard truth,” McKnight wrote in his recent blog post on the family farm website. “If we lose our Faith (as we are now quite effectively doing), we will lose our ability to identify with the ancestors whose very Faith brought them here and whose very Faith inspired them to have many children, and so here you are. Here we are.”
McKnight’s courage and Catholic zeal runs in his blood. His Acadian ancestors first came to Louisiana after facing political and religious persecution from the Protestant king of England. “Ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus,” said McKnight, “which is Latin for ‘That in all things God may be glorified.’ So whether we rise to the top or we sink to the deepest depths, no matter what, God will be glorified.”
In his most recent Instagram post, McKnight does not plead for mercy from the people who, as Weinhold said, “hold his livelihood in their hands.” Instead, he is standing strong. “We count it a privilege to have lost much,” McKnight wrote on Instagram. “It is an honor to participate, through the suffering of our family, in the triumph of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary,” he wrote. “‘If the world hate you, know ye, that it hath hated me before you.'”