In the 1500’s it was not just the wise men and women that were persecuted and often burned at the state for their refusal to change their ways and beliefs as they hold on to the old ways. On Jan. 3, 1546 a man named Martin Luther was also burned at the stake. His death was the result of what was viewed as a crime against the Roman Catholic Church. During the burning times many wise men and women as well as other people who did not conform to the Churches ways.
Martin Luther was not a Pagan and did not follow an old religion but he was treated in a similar way to those that were during those times. He had been forced into hiding from the Catholic Church in 1521 due to the papal bull Decent Romanum Pontificem that was issued by Pope Leo X. That papal bull excommunicated Martin, who was a Protestant, and sent him into hiding.
During the burning times, anyone that followed a different path or one of the old religions would be prosecuted as though they had committed a crime and during those times it was more or less illegal to do anything that the Church did not approve. Anything the Catholic Church viewed as being against the Church was punishable by death. These deaths were typically public events and might include hanging, stoning or burning. In part it was a spectator sport and in part it was to reinforce the Churches authority.
When Martin Luther was burned at the stake in 1546 it was due to a papal bull known as Exsurge Domine. This papal was one of the many that made other beliefs, the old religions and even slight variations of the Catholic religion illegal and many people were put to brutal deaths because of it. Although we often associate the burning times and this sort of event with the parishioners of the old religion, many more people will killed in the same manor during these times.