Terry Jeffrey
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When the Obama administration finalized its regulation requiring health care plans to provide cost-free coverage for sterilizations, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs, House Speaker John Boehner -- as this column noted last year -- was one of those who correctly argued that the regulation was an attack on religious freedom and that Congress must not let it stand.

On Wednesday, in craven contradiction to that position, Boehner plans to lead the Republican-controlled House in enacting a continuing resolution that will fund the government for the rest of fiscal 2013 and that will provide the administration with the money to carry out its attack on religious liberty while leaving Barack Obama's claimed authority to do so unchallenged.

Boehner is doing this after turning aside a plea from some members of his caucus to include language in the CR to thwart Obama's unjust regulation.

Boehner had a choice: He could appease Obama and the liberal media he manifestly fears. Or he could have waged political battle in defense of the religious freedom of Roman Catholics and other Christians and people of faith who share -- in whole or in part -- the Catholic view that sterilization, artificial contraception and abortion are morally wrong.

In 16th century England, facing a tyrannical Henry VIII, Thomas More went to his death rather than submit to a decree commanding him to act against his faith. In 21st century America, facing Obama and the liberal media, Boehner briefly blustered about religious freedom and then took deliberate action to provide Obama with the resources needed to attack that freedom.

"My colleagues," Boehner said on the House floor back on Feb. 8, 2012, "in recent days, Americans of every faith and political persuasion have mobilized in objection to a rule put forward by the Obama administration that constitutes an unambiguous attack on religious freedom in our country.

"This rule," Boehner said, "would require faith-based employers, including Catholic charities, schools, universities and hospitals, to provide services they believe are immoral. Those services include sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs and devices, and contraception. In imposing this requirement, the federal government has drifted dangerously beyond its constitutional boundaries, encroaching on religious freedom in a manner that affects millions of Americans and harms some of our nation's most vital institutions.

"If the president does not reverse the department's attack on religious freedom," said Boehner, "then the Congress, acting on behalf of the American people and the Constitution that we are sworn to uphold and defend, must."

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Terry Jeffrey

Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSNews

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