Religions were not started by Kings, Emperors and rulers; religion is the byproduct of the human development of consciousness. Once man became a conscious being, who could think and fear not the immediate but the unknown, religion was born. Religion is as old as man is, and it will be there so long as we have to fear death...
"he advocated was freedom to form and advocate his own positions regardless of the positions of those in authority."
You clearly missed the class on Galilleo or you were screwed y your teacher. He did not argue for "freedom" or any of the such, the debate was over the irrefutably of science even in the face of religious ideology. In that, you cannot bend science/reality to your ideological will. Galileo was punished for saying that religion was wrong, just like the defendant in the Monkey trial.
For those who don't believe in evolution because it's a "theory", go jump out the window and see if you can fly, gravity is a "theory" as well. In fact, please go on the highest building by where you live and jump, lets put the "theory of gravity" to the test, from what I have heard, if you don't believe in gravity, you just soar into the sky and lounge with Jesus in the clouds.
For those who don't believe in evolution because it's a "theory", go jump out the window and see if you can fly, gravity is a "theory" as well.