LGBT activists may be celebrating their big victory on gay marriage, but lawyers and conservatives want the Supreme Court to finally weigh in on another subject: whether or not Christians business owners have the right to turn down gay customers.

“I think it’s just a matter of time before the Supreme Court takes up the issue,” said Jeremy Tedesco of the Alliance Defending Freedom law group. The group is currently defending a Colorado cake maker in the court of appeals. Their defendant, Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop, is a Christian who does not believe he should be forced to bake cakes for gay wedding ceremonies. In 2012, he turned away a gay couple’s request for a gay wedding cake. Two years later, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission ruled that he must make such cakes. Not only that, but Phillips and his employees must attend “re-education classes” and file quarterly reports for two years.

Phillips is one of many Christian entrepreneurs who insist they are being forced to choose between the law and their religious beliefs. And while officials in New York, Oregon, Colorado, and elsewhere have made no distinction between selling gay products and serving gay customers, lawyers believe there is an important difference between the two. It is upon that foundation that Tedesco hopes to raise an appeal with the Supreme Court.

“My hope is that these stories of injustice will help people to understand that compulsions and coercion are never the answer,” Tedesco said. “I think the more we start to look like Europe and the rest of the countries that have gone so far down the leftist agenda, economically, socially, politically, what makes us distinct? What makes us distinct is our economic, political, religious freedom.”

America, the Exceptional

Tedesco is hinting at the principle of American exceptionalism, a school of thought that says there is something special about the United States. It’s a way of contextualizing this country’s unbelievable progress over the last 200 years that has fallen out of fashion on the left. In fact, today’s liberals not only deny American exceptionalism, they believe that America is actually worse than its European counterparts. They look at this great country and see only the injustice, the racism, and the inequality. They see only slavery and genocide when they look into the past. To them, America is something that needs to be fixed.

But believing in America’s distinct and unique treasures does not mean ignoring the bad parts. There are things that need to be fixed. There are things in our past that we should be ashamed of. Conservatives don’t deny any of this, and no one has ever claimed that the United States is a perfect country. In the rush to progress, though, we do not believe that we should overlook the principles, traditions, and beliefs that have made us the world’s last remaining superpower. Chief among those beliefs? Religious freedom.

There are ways to address the problems that ail America without fundamentally transforming the country. Unfortunately, many Americans aren’t concerned about those problems. They want change at any cost and for any reason. As long as “progress” aligns with their liberal beliefs, they’re fine with it. And that’s what’s scary.