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What happened at the First Congress and subsequent public commentary on the religion clauses indicate that they were intended to protect the free exercise of religion as it was generally understood at that time and as summarized in Chap. 8. Both religion clauses were intended to free religion from government meddling, whether intended to aid or harm religion, in order to protect the integrity of religion and enable it to “sink or swim” on its own. Ironically, in freeing religion from government, the religion clauses also protected atheism. Also, because the clauses were intended to prohibit the government only from passing certain kinds of laws, they cannot be used to justify religion-based exemptions from laws that it is authorized to pass.