For my Radical Reformation class, unfortunately, we're apparently just going to be focusing on the 16th century Radical Reformation in present-day Germany & Switzerland (mainly), so we aren't going to do anything with Quakers. Oh well...at least I'll get to study our spiritual "cousins." So far we're learning about the beginnings of the Anabaptist movement in Switzerland, mainly with several (Felix Mantz, Conrad Grebel, George Blaurock) having a public disputation (like one of the presidential debates) with Ulrich Zwingli (leader of the Swiss Reformation in Zurich) regarding whether or not infant baptism was biblical. Zwingli won, so the others decided they were no longer going to follow the state church, and they met together on January 21, 1525 and decided they were just going to do it: they rebaptized each other in "believer's baptism," as rational, thinking adults.
This made the powers that be very angry, especially when these people decided to go around preaching that what Zwingli and the Zurich city council were saying was unbiblical. So the Anabaptists (as they were dubbed by their enemies--like the name Quakers) got thrown in jail and threatened. Anabaptists also didn't want to pay tithes to the church/state for pastors who they didn't believe were following God, so that got them in a great deal of trouble. They also chose not to bring in their infants to be baptized.
So, like early Friends, these first Anabaptists were persecuted fairly harshly: they were thrown in jail, beaten, and eventually martyred in various ways including drowning ("Is that enough water for you?"), and being locked in a room with several other people and burned, and burned at the stake, and tortured, and many other unpleasant things. A few recanted in order to not be killed, but many died for their faith, for attempting to live out what is actually written in the Bible instead of traditions that had grown up in Christianity.
As I was pondering these Anabaptist martyrs and their Quaker counterparts over a century later, I was wondering how many of us would actually be willing to die for things like being baptized as adults (or not at all) now. How many of us would die to prove the point that icons shouldn't be used in worship? Maybe these things aren't of so much importance to us now--now we have more of the opinion of, "If it works for you, do it," but how many of us would actually die for our faith? How many of us would even be willing to be persecuted or made fun of for our faith?
How many of us, especially as Friends, are willing to take a stand and say, "This is what I believe in because I know in my heart of hearts that it is Truth"?
(The website where I found the photo says it's Annekende Vlasteran, but I don't know anything about her...yet.)