Unfortunately these times of shallowness keep us from appreciating the price paid by those who have gone before us. We tend to obsess more over current political events then we do the lessons from our past.
Almost five-hundred years ago in England, priests and theologians were locked in struggle over how they ought to worship God. Due to the changing preferences of whomever sat on the throne, the nation was caught in a back-and-forth scuffle between Protestantism and Catholicism. In 1553 Mary Tudor, who supported the Roman Catholic Church, rose to power. Her desire to return the kingdom to the Catholicism motivated her to put to death almost 300 Protestant leaders. Hence, she was known as Bloody Mary.
During this period she arrested Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley. Though the men barely knew each other, they were tried together and commanded to recant their anti-Catholic beliefs. When they refused, they were sentenced to be burned at the stake together.
Though they were not associated with each other in life, they would be forever linked through death. For while chained to the stake together, Latimer remarked to Ridley,
"Be of good comfort, Mr. Ridley, and play the man! We shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust never shall be put out."
That, my friends, is one of the greatest quotes I've ever read.
And Latimer was right, because their cause would prevail. Hundreds of years later, we Protestant Christians continue to reap the benefits of their bravery.