To punctuate his purported conviction in this matter, Boehner concluded: "This attack by the federal government on religious freedom in our country must not stand and will not stand."
But that was a year ago.
Last week, led by Rep. John Fleming, R-La., who is a medical doctor, and Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., who is a registered nurse, 14 House members wrote to Boehner and other Republican leaders asking them to include language in the CR that would reverse Obama's sterilization-contraception-abortifacient regulation and also protect health care providers and institutions from being forced to provide, train or refer for abortions.
This week, 50 House members -- led by Fleming, Black, and Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb. -- introduced legislation that would do these two things. This legislation would reverse the Obamacare regulation not only as it applies to religious nonprofits and private businesses, but also as it applies to individuals.
Boehner and the House Republican leadership could have included the language of this bill, or language achieving the same result, in their CR. They decided not to do so.
The CR they did produce, which will be voted on Wednesday, does take stands on policy issues -- taking a hard line, for example, against foreign-made ball bearings.
The bill states: "None of the funds appropriated by this Act may be used for the procurement of ball and roller bearings other than those produced by a domestic source and of domestic origin."
At a minimum, the bill could have used similar language to stop Obama's attack on religious liberty. Such language would have redeemed Boehner's declaration a year ago that Congress must act to stop that attack. It also would have sparked an intense and much-needed national debate over religious freedom.
On one side of that debate would have stood the Christian owners of Hobby Lobby and Tyndale House Publishers, who have sued the government over Obama's regulation, and all the Catholic bishops of the United States, who have unanimously declared Obama's regulation an "unjust and illegal mandate" that violates the "personal civil rights" of individual Americans.
On the other side would have stood Obama, the liberal media and others who are ready to use the force of government to violate a right that over the centuries countless martyrs have witnessed is a gift more precious than life itself.
There is no middle ground here. The CR to fund the government for the rest of the year -- that must pass Congress and must be signed by the president -- could either (1) permit and pay for Obama's attack on religious freedom or (2) prohibit and defund that attack. Boehner and the House Republican leaders decided to pre-emptively permit and pay for it. They would not even put up a fight.
Every member of the House who joins Boehner and the Republican leaders in backing this CR will share their culpability for it.