“Contemptible heroes” often suffer terrible isolation for standing up for what’s right. A “contemptible hero”, says novelist Clancy Sigel, is “someone who risks doing a good thing against the collective wisdom of the herd and usually gets punished for it.”
On the anniversary of the execution of anti-Nazi “White Rose” conspirators Sophie Scholl, her brother Hans and their school friend Christopher Probst”, we are also reminded of:
- Hugh Thompson, a Vietnam helicopter pilot who stopped the My Lai Massacre.
- Juliano Mer-Khamis, who created the Freedom Theatre in Jenin, Palestine.
- Emily Davidson, the English suffragette who died attempting to place a “Votes for Women” scarf around the neck of the King’s race horse.
- Sgt. Joe Darby, a prison guard who exposed torture at Iraq’s Abu Graib.
- Rocky Braat,who cared for AIDS children in India.
- Frank Serpico, a NYPD cop exiled in Europe after exposing police brutality and corruption.
- Paul Robeson, a football player and socialist blacklisted during the McCarthy era.
So, asks the author, does Foxe’s Book of Martyrs need updating?
Davison: “Rebellion against tyrants is obedience to God.”