Yes, John Locke and the idea of universal rights is very European, though they did not spring full-grown from the head of the French Revolution, especially that part of it that so quickly degenerated into the Reign of Terror and was well criticized by such as Edmund Burke, a supporter of much of the American philosophy.
But this couldn't have arisen without the ground of the Christian faith. It's no wonder that the Magna Carta was forced on King John in England. It was a first step prompted by the barons, but it was a step toward teh American philosophy of rights. But it all grew in Christian Europe, in which the concept of God-given rights took root, and became the cradle of the Enlightenment.
There is a radical Seperation of Church and State. Church cannot regulate religious beliefs as laws, and the State cannot regulate religious beliefs. This is mutally beneficial, it provides a safe, bias-free (in theory) system that does not make judgements based on religious beliefs. Imagine if a Buddhist was being sued in court, and he was judged guilty for not worshipping the Judeo-Christian God.
Religion should not mix in politics. If you start regulating laws based on religious morals, where does it end? Whose religion should the laws be based on? If you say Christians, what kind of Christians? If you say Protestants, what kind of Protestants? If you say Conservative Protestants, which denomination or sect? If you say laws should be made based on the Bible, which interpretation?
Not precisely my point. I did say that that sort of thing should not happen. What I was emphasizing was that the ground of their beliefs should not by its nature be ruled out of court and not given a fair hearing. I would generally agree with you, but I think that you are being more general than I was. I say that Hindus have the right to say that a moral is the right one to adopt because it in , oh, the Baghavad Gita, say, or is Brahmin in origin and the Brahmins are right. I would very likely disagree with them, but they should have the right to argue this point and to be taken seriously while doing so.
Should we ban wearing polyester or multi-colored suits? (it is considered "sinful" in the Old Testament along with "homosexuality"). Should we ban pork and shellfish? Should we enforce that everyone attends Church on Sunday?
I did specifically say that Sunday observance should not be enforced. Sectarian concerns should not be adopted, but those who hold them should be able to voice them in public debate and not be shouted down only because their reasons are religious.
If you say that all religions should be open to influencing law, should we change "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance to : "One Nation, under God/Christ/Yahweh/Allah/Brahman/Buddha/Shunyata/Dao/Goddess/Ahura Mazda/Lucifer/"? If not, then why?
This goes one step beyond my point. If the country voted for this, then it should be adopted. Muslims should be able to say that they want Allah mentiond in the Pledge. The rest of us should be able to debate that point rationally and respectfully.
If we let Christian beliefs influence policy on Gay Marriage and Abortion, why not let it influence other things too? Why not enforce Jesus' policy against interest? (Jesus said to not charge interest on loans)
Christians should be able to argue that. It wouldn't pass (it touches money, after all, the American golden calf), but they should at least get a fair hearing on it.
Abortion is also not a religlious issue because the laws on death in this country are not influenced by any religions (due to Seperation of Church and State). A woman's right to choose is a Constitutional right due to the First and Fifteenth Amendment.
Not really. It's based on Harry Blackmun's interpretation of the "penumbra" of the Constitution. He got a majority of the justices to agree with him, but he lobbied for it so hard that aides called the memos and the case, "Harry's abortion." It's a notoriously badly-decided case.
We shouldn't legislate "morality" on religious basis because our laws are built off of Englightenment Age secular morals in the first place. To regulate "morality" based on any religion (especially on a single religion) would be stepping into the realm of theocracy.
I don't htink so. A theocracy is where a religion and its leaders rule the country by religious law. I'm talking about letting religious people have their requests based on their religious reasons, and the rest of us not refusing to hear them because we don't like the religion. Even religious folk should be able to have their say.