First, calm down please. There's no need to get angry here. At this rate I can see a Staff-imposed cool down coming.
Second, yes, I am debating in good faith. I am just perplexed as you over your apparently inability to see something that seems obvious to me.
It's not anger, it's exasperation... possibly similar to what you feel... that we seem to be arguing in circles. Especially considering that your position is that the people who wrote, debated, voted on and signed the bill were lying when they said that it was about Smith. It's hard to continue a debate about the reasons behind a bill when I post the exact reasons the people who came up with the bill gave (repeatedly) and you simply dismiss them.
Again, recall your original premise was that the RFRA was about the war on drugs and peyote. This was proven false.
No, it hasn't
been proven false. Without the war on drugs and a lack of respect for Sacred Land rights there's no Smith or Lyng. Without Smith or Lyng there's no RFRA. Again, I don't know how to make this any simpler. The people behind the RFRA make explicitly clear time after time after time that the point of the RFRA is to undo what Smith and Lyng did. Without Smith and Lyng there's nothing to undo. Without the war on drugs and a lack of respect for Sacred Land rights there's no Smith and Lyng thus nothing to undo thus no RFRA.
Since then, you have changed your position and retreated from this initial, flawed premise.
No, I haven't. My position is exactly the same. The RFRA is a result of Smith and Lyng. Without Smith and Lyng there's no RFRA. Without the war on drugs and a lack of respect for Sacred Land rights there's no Smith and Lyng. Thus there's no RFRA.
Now you're clinging to the notion that Smith is the one and only reason the RFRA could ever have come into existence.
Smith and Lyng is
the only reason that the RFRA came into being. You may want to argue fantasy worlds where the RFRA came to someone in a dream or was inspired by a particularly entertaining rendition of Vivaldi's Four Seasons but the reality of the situation is that the RFRA came about because of Smith and Lyng. Everyone involved with the RFRA agrees on that fact. They state that fact repeatedly.
Yet you admit the freedom of religion issue was being debated and litigated in cases other than Smith. Is it really that hard to see the connection?
What connection? The cases that came to the Supreme Court prior
to Smith and Lyng came to the same solution that the RFRA eventually did. That's why the RFRA was an attempt to return things to how they were pre-Smith.
You agree that religious freedom was debated before and after Smith.
It was; the courts held a position which largely matched the eventual RFRA.
But you insist that Smith is the one and only reason for the RFRA to exist.
the one and only reason that the RFRA exists. That's why everyone involved in the RFRA says
it's the one and only reason it exists. Quite a few of the legislators involved make clear that they would normally be deeply suspicious and hesitant about agreeing with other legislators on a matter like this but Smith was enough to tip them over the edge.
What makes you think that one of the other cases involving religious freedom wouldn't have raised to the Supreme Court?
Other cases involving free exercise were
raised to the Supreme Court; Sherbert v. Verner, Wisconsin v. Yoder, Trans World Airlines v. Hardison, Widmar v. Vincent, McDaniel v. Paty, Thomas v. Review Board, Goldman v. Weinberger and Bowen v. Roy to name a few. In none of those cases was the free exercise clause butchered in the way it was with Smith. Hence no RFRA.
What makes you think that that Court would have came to a different conclusion concerning the application of religious freedom?
Because it didn't. Only in Smith did it come to the conclusion it did.
I think I'm beginning to see your argument here, although it's not entirely clear. What you're saying is that if we removed all context from the RFRA being created, removed all the judicial history that went before it, removed all the discussion about what the free exercise clause was and meant, then perhaps people wouldn't be as willing to support it if appeared today. I'm not even going to engage with the argument because it's intellectual slight of hand. The RFRA wasn't created out of thin air. It was created for the reason. The reason was the context and the judicial history that went before it, including the discussion about what the free exercise clause was and what it meant, which largely concluded with Smith. If you want to argue that the RFRA would be less accepted if it was created today due to changing social attitudes then you have to apply the same context that led to it being created and supported in the first place; the free exercise clause being gutted in cases that related to the war on drugs and a lack of respect for Sacred Land rights.
Discussing this in the matter you want to is akin to arguing that the War Powers Act of 1941 would be opposed if brought in today. Yes, probably if you remove all context from the original and said it was being created out of the blue today at a time where the US is largely at peace. But if you add the context that led to the War Powers Act being signed (a literal world war going on in the rest of the world and the US being attacked at Pearl Harbor by Japan, thus entering the war itself) suddenly it would likely become rather more supported. If you want to remove or change the context of things you can say that pretty much anything would be supported or opposed just by jigging the context.
See? The forces at work were manifest in more than just Smith. Smith was a symptom, not the cause.
No, again, Smith was
the cause. The fact that everyone involved said it was the cause (I can post all the quotes again if you want) makes it pretty clear what the cause was. You can't remove the context of something just because it doesn't suit your argument. The RFRA was brought about because of Smith. Without Smith there's no RFRA.
The Legislative History all comment on how Smith was the starting point. No disagreement there. But the debate then went wider and covered issues not raised by Smith. (See the image above.) Thus, the final version of the RFRA cannot be just the result of Smith and only Smith and nothing else.
a result of Smith and nothing else. That's why Smith was the cause of it. It's why the people involved said that Smith was the reason. It's why they made clear that it was only because of Smith that the act was contemplated, let alone agreed. Again, you can't just remove context you don't like.
Again, what makes you think that if the U.S. Federal Government tried to passed a law to govern a Native American tribe's access to its sacred burial grounds, on the basis that it was not a proper exercise of religion, that people will not see how such a law would touch on broader issues and begin discussing its ramifications?
I'm not sure what the purpose of this example is; it doesn't relate to either Smith or Lyng or the "issue" that the RFRA was intended to solve. Neither cases related to whether something was a proper exercise of religion or not, they related to what care the government had to take when dealing with an exercise of religion. The RFRA wasn't designed or intended to correct some issue with the courts interpretation of what constituted the "proper exercise of religion", it was designed and intended to correct some issue with the courts view on how the government had to consider and react to proper exercises of religion. Once more, you're changing the context.
Good. Then I present you as evidence that people will respond differently to the RFRA if Congress attempted to pass it as new legislation today.
But I think that those changes in attitudes would make people more
supportive of an RFRA type act. You've said they'd be more negative... but you've yet to present any evidence that it wouldn't other than Indiana, which... as I've previously mentioned... is presented in a different context to the RFRA.