Daily Links, Feb. 28: More religious liberty talk, debunking Santorum, and a Simpsons Lenten reflection

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The religious liberty debate stirred by the HHS mandate continues on today, with the House Judiciary Committee holding a hearing on the subject. Nick Sementelli of Faith in Public Life and Sarah Posner of Religion Dispatches have both been offering live coverage and commentary this afternoon on Twitter.

This one is from last week, but still well worth reading: We've heard from the bishops about how the HHS mandate will affect organizations like Catholic Charities, but here's a response from Brian Cahill, former executive director of Catholic Charities in San Francisco.

And in case you missed it, this past weekend Chicago's Cardinal George offered his take on how the mandate will lead to the closing of Catholic hospitals and social service agencies. Sarah Posner breaks down some of George's claims about the separation of church and state.

And here's a religious liberty story that no one is getting all worked up about: A Jewish basketball team won their regional championship and had to choose between playing in the state semifinals or observing the Sabbath. Because of their religious beliefs, they forfeited the game, since tournament organizers said changing the time was not an option because it would create scheduling problems for the rest of the (non-Jewish) teams. What's worth noting is how the teenage players and the school handled the situation--with respect and dignity.

On to other topics--today is primary day in Michigan and everyone is watching to see if Rick Santorum can upset Michigan native Mitt Romney. But Santorum's comments of late have been stirring up discussion--and some corrections--on college making young people lose their faith and what JFK said about church/state separation. On our blog, Liz Lefebvre also looked at Santorum's argument that colleges are designed to make people more liberal.

Yesterday I looked at the issue of preaching a partisan message at Mass. Here is a Christian pastor's take on how to walk the line between being politically engaged but not overtly partisan in an election year. 

In another negative story for the church (coupled with poor writing from the Washington Post), a priest in the Archdiocese of Washington denied communion to a lesbian woman during a funeral Mass for her mother. The archdiocese said this was against their policy but didn't offer a public apology to the family.

In Virginia, a bill passed today to mandate that women receive an ultrasound prior to having an abortion.

And to end on a lighthearted note, Tim O'Brien S.J. at The Jesuit Post takes a look at Lent through the lens of The Simpsons. Especially during the Lenten season, we could all let out a good "D'oh!" every now and then and seek God's forgiveness for our mistakes.