Rev. Obadiah Holmes by Sam Behling
The Persecution of Obadiah Holmes in America by J. M. Cramp
Our Baptist Heritage Obadiah Holmes: A Baptist at His Best by Barry W. Jones
"Obadiah Holmes remained adamant that his worship of Christ should not be under the control of a priest or bishop, or a magistrate or government. He and his Baptist contemporaries in Rhode Island opposed any government interference in religion and vice versa. Holmes believed this so strongly that he once took 30 lashes at the hands of magistrates and clergy in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, rather than be denied his right to worship as he saw fit."
At the above links you can read a little about Obadiah Holmes, an early American Baptist who felt so strongly about freedom of religion that he was willing to suffer for it. Men and women of that caliber were the forerunners of obtaining legal freedom of religion in the United States of America.
Today freedom of religion is often confused with tolerance. The modern tolerance seems to hold that all religion is equally valid, and for that reason folks ought to "tolerate" all sorts of beliefs.
Holmes was not "tolerant". He stood for freedom of religion, not tolerance. Tolerance implies someone is superior and in a position to tolerate an inferior. Holmes wanted equality of religion before the governmental authorities. This idea is not based on the equality of all religions, but on religion being between God and man -- not God, man and his government.
Holmes was not ecumenical. He would not be forced to worship with the Puritan Congregationalists, and so signaled by keeping his hat on when hauled into their sanctuary. His freedom of religion required him to believe others should be free to consort with other beliefs if they so wished, but it also meant those who did not so wish should not be forced to.