When Pope Benedict XVI speaks of SECULARISM he means anyone who does not belong to the one and only TRUE Church and are therefore not Roman Catholic. Some opponents of church-state separation redefine “secularism” as “state neutrality” to allow their group (among others) to get state funding. Others try to discredit it by confusing “secularism” with “atheism”. But it's a political, rather than a religious doctrine and its purpose is to help level the playing field in order to give a better chance for human rights. See also: TEMPORAL
Theology VS Mysticism
Theology: The art of telling stories about the Divine. Also the art of listening to them.
Mysticism: The art of tasting and feeling in your heart the inner meaning of such stories to the point that they transform you.
Same-sex marriage: What rights and protections should same-sex couples and their children have? Should they be allowed to marry, or be only registered in civil unions, or be allowed only to enter domestic partnerships, or be legally considered "legal strangers" -- merely as roommates? In mid-2013, the U.S. Supreme Court essentially overturned Proposition 8: a California referendum in 2008 that banned same-sex marriages in the state. Marriages are now available to same-sex couples in that state, in 12 other states and in the District of Columbia.
Abortion access: In what situations should informed women be free to choose to have an abortion: all, none, or some? What are the best ways to reduce abortions: by restricting access or by making childbirth more feasible, or by increasing contraceptive usage. Would educating sexually active youth in how to prevent pregnancy and STIs help or hinder? Islamophobia: This involves fear, anger, hatred, discomfort, and/or discrimination directed against Muslims. Some target the 19 perpetrators of 9/11; some a group of violent radicals within Islam; some against all of the world's 1.2 billion Muslims. Religious freedom: This term has two very different meanings. In the past it referred to people being free to believe as they wish, assemble with others of the same religious tradition, engage in different religious practices, proselytize freely, etc. However, it is now often used to mean something very different: to use religious freedom to oppress, denigrate, and attack women and minorities -- particularly sexual minorities. The fight against the HHS birth control mandate: A recent Health and Human Services mandate requires most employee health insurance policies -- including those used by Catholic hospitals, universities, agencies, etc. -- to offer free access to birth control to the employees. The church feels that it is their religious right to fight its employees' access to contraception. Many of their Catholic and non-Catholic employees beg to differ. Numerous court cases are being fought. If the mandate survives, then there is likely to be a drastic reduction in unexpected, unwanted pregnancies, and thus a massive drop in the number of abortions. "Federal Defense of Marriage act (DOMA):" This law originally prevented legally married same-sex couples and their children from obtaining any of the approximately 1,138 federal benefits, protections, and rights that were automatically given as special privileges only to opposite-sex married couples. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on 2013-JUN-26 that Section 3 of the law was unconstitutional. Same-sex married couples now have the same rights as opposite-married couples subject to some limitations. This ruling is expected to have a major long term impact on LGBT equality because of the majority opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy. "Boy Scouts of America" (BSA): The BSA prohibited LGBT youth and adults from joining, and expelled any such persons when they were discovered within the organization. Delegates to their annual meeting voted to allow LGBT youths to join, but to expell them at age 18. Conservative religious denominations and para church groups are outraged that LGBT youths are allowed to join; some are organizing groups in competition to the BSA.