ThursdayâÂ?Â?s Religion Roundup: Hawaiian Topic

The so-called “Hawaii option” is the Obama administration’s preferred way of trying to slip out of the growing contraception mandate mess.

The Catholic bishops smell blood in the water and are upping the ante: Anthony Picarello, general counsel for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, says the entire mandate must be scrapped – even for non-religious employers.

"If I quit this job and opened a Taco Bell, I'd be covered by the mandate," Picarello said.

At the liberal National Catholic Reporter, columnist Michael Sean Winters might be open to a compromise, but not until the White House cries “Uncle!”

“I do not want to sit down to negotiations with them unless and until there is a little blood coming from their nose too,” says Winters.

His fellow NCR columnist, John Allen, is also taking a hard line: "There's no room for compromise on this. The mandate has to go…There's not much room for a conversation here." NCR's editorial board has a more measured but still powerful argument for a broader religious exemption and calling for a reasonable resolution.

Why is the administration is so much trouble? Here are five reasons.

How bad is it for the White House when the editorial board of The Christian Century pretty much agrees with the Catholic bishops?

The contraception battle is renewing calls for bishops to bar Nancy Pelosi from receiving communion.

Rick Santorum, on the other hand, is good: he’s against contraception and gay marriage – and evangelicals love him. Best of all, for Republican voters, he’s not that other guy.

But is Santorum good for the Jews? Maybe not so much, judging by the Hanukkah card Santorum’s South Carolina team sent out in December in the run-up to the primary there. It quotes the Bible -- namely, the New Testament, and specifically Jesus Christ: "I am the light of the world."

Speaking of gay marriage, Washington State is poised to legalize it.

Speaking of gay marriage AND contraception, the former is a natural result of the latter – and the GOP is as much to blame as Democrats, according to a writer at First Things.

Photo credit: The New York Observer’s Hunter Walker.