The Supreme Court began hearing arguments in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case today. Ben Shapiro has already provided a helpful refresher on the case, which you can read here. If you’re too lazy to click the link, here are the basic bullet points:

-Jack Phillips owns and operates a bakery called Masterpiece Cakeshop.

-Phillips is a devout Christian.

-Phillips used to make beautiful cakes, but is no longer permitted to do so.

-He’s no longer permitted to make cakes because one time, a few years ago, he declined to decorate a cake for a gay wedding.

-I say “decorate a cake” not “make,” because he was perfectly willing to sell the gay couple, David Mullins and Charlie Craig, a cake. He was willing to sell them any pastry they wanted. But, due to his religious beliefs, he couldn’t decorate it with a gay wedding theme.

-Phillips had also in the past refused to decorate Halloween cakes and divorce party cakes. Nobody ever complained about that.

-Rather than respond like empathetic, decent, civilized human beings, Mullins and Craig decided to embark on a five-year campaign to ruin Phillips and destroy his business.

-The Colorado Civil Rights Commission decreed that Phillips can no longer make any cakes for anyone, and he must provide gay-friendly “reeducation” to his employees.

-Phillips lost 40% of his business and had to fire half of his work force.

-Now the Supreme Court will decide whether a private citizen can be legally compelled to create a piece of art celebrating something they find morally objectionable.

Those are the fundamental facts of the case. Now, here are a few other things to keep in mind as you read about the oral arguments and await the final decision:

1. This is one of the most important Supreme Court cases in American history.

The First Amendment is on trial, not Jack Phillips. If Phillips loses, free speech is effectively finished in this country. If a Christian business owner can be forced by the state to create something that goes against his deeply held religious beliefs — beliefs shared by a majority of the world, by the way — then what function does the First Amendment really serve?

Phillips doesn’t need the First Amendment when he makes a birthday cake. He doesn’t need it when he cooks a batch of brownies. He doesn’t need it when he’s doing innocuous things that no one — not even the gay lobby — could possibly find offensive or upsetting. He needs it precisely when he’s faced with the dilemma that Mullins and Craig presented. He needs it when he makes a decision, grounded in his religious convictions, which will be upsetting to a powerful group like the LGBT lobby. If he doesn’t have it then, he doesn’t have it at all.

If the Supreme Court decides in favor of the gay lobby, what next? If gays have a mystical right to force their fellow citizens to participate in their gay weddings, where does that right end? I’ll tell you: it doesn’t. If Phillips goes down, the churches will be next. And why not? If we’ve just established that gays are a special and superior class of human beings, and their desire for a cake decorated a particular way now must supersede everyone else’s First Amendment rights, why should the churches be exempt? Indeed, if Phillips doesn’t have the right to withhold his cake, why should the local priest have the right to withhold his church? He doesn’t, in that case. He won’t. Mark my words.

2. When First Amendment rights are pitted against LGBT rights, First Amendment rights should always win.

Because LGBT rights don’t exist. Your gayness does not come with special rights and privileges. Your sexual proclivities have no bearing on anything. We all have the same rights, or we should. That’s what “equal protection” means.

Phillips is not claiming any special rights. He is simply saying that he, like anyone, is entitled to use his artistic abilities in a way consistent with his personal and religious convictions. He doesn’t want to advance a message he doesn’t believe. It is his fundamental human right — not his Christian right, or his baker’s right, or any other kind of right — to refrain.

Mullins and Craig, on the other hand, are saying that a special exception must be made for them, specifically, because they’re gay. Notice how nobody is challenging (for now) Phillips’ right to continue turning down Halloween cakes and divorce cakes and lewd bachelorette party cakes, etc. Mullins and Craig are arguing that their situation is different because they’re gay. Whereas a man’s love for Halloween does not entitle him to special privileges and protections, a man’s sexual attraction to other men does. That’s the argument.

It’s deranged, arbitrary, and un-American.

3. The behavior of the gay couple in this case has been truly despicable.

Let’s be clear about the real victim in this situation. Phillips — the decent, hardworking Christian business owner, who employed members of his community and provided a valuable service — is the victim. He did not seek out this notoriety. He did not want to be at the center of a national controversy. He just wanted to make his cakes and live his life. He was a decent, normal man, living a decent, normal, inconspicuous life. Until Mullins and Craig walked in the door.

There were many bakeries they could have chosen. They just so happened to walk into the one bakery run by an openly devout Christian, asking for a flamboyantly decorated cake for their impending gay wedding. Was this just a coincidence? Did these two gay men accidentally stumble into the one bakery in Colorado that would refuse to make their cake?

Well, if that’s the case, then their response to Phillips can only be described as psychotic. If all they wanted was a cake, and their request was completely innocent, and they truly did not expect to be turned away, then their behavior over the following five years is inexplicable and deranged to an unbelievable extreme. They have, by this version of events, spent half a decade angrily exacting revenge on a man because he didn’t want to put gay-themed decorations on a dessert pastry. They have put their whole life on hold to pursue legal penalties against the guy who politely declined to adorn a cake with a rainbow and two plastic grooms. It’s vengeful and spiteful to an unfathomable degree. These are possibly the pettiest human beings to have ever walked the face of the Earth.

Or.

Or this was all calculated. They sought out Jack Phillips hoping to get exactly the response he gave them, and then they proceeded to use him as a pawn to advance their political agenda and destroy the rights of Christians in America. They are activists parading themselves around as an aggrieved and innocent married couple. I think this is the more accurate characterization. And it is entirely in keeping with how the gay lobby usually operates.

Either way, they’re the bullies here. They’re the villains of this drama. Phillips is an innocent man fighting for his right to live and work in peace, and in accordance with his faith.

May his cause prevail, for his sake and ours.