The Gunpowder Plot was the attempt of desperate men to be allowed the freedom to practice the faith demanded of them by their conscience.
I do not condone terrorism. I do not think blowing up the British Parliament was a good idea. It is helpful, however, to consider what drives a man to consider such extreme action. England claimed to permit a great deal of "tolerance" towards Catholics in those days. It is a mantra almost identical to the message of tolerance we hear today. By my estimation, this country tolerates faithful Catholics about the same way that England did in 1605 [Fr. Tyler Dennis, "Thumbing My Nose at England," Prairie Father, 2010.11.05].
As a member of the 1.6% minority of declared atheists in this country, I am perhaps insufficiently sensitive to the intolerance experienced by the largest Christian denomination in America and in the world. So let me ask you, pious readers: do you find the practice of your faith (Catholic or otherwise) so oppressed in America that you could be driven to Fawkesian rebellion?
The religious oppression wrought by King James leads Fr. Tyler to declare it "impossible to have a good grasp of history and remain a Protestant." Hmmm... wind the clock back a hundred years from King James, and don't we find the men of the Catholic Church engaged in such earthly corruption as to drive any conscientious historian out of the Catholic faith as well? Demand a history free of fallen men and earthly excess, and no church 'scapes whipping.
I think that was Luther's point (I'll check with my wife: she's studied history... and she's still in Lutheran seminary). None of us well acquit the institutions and faiths we represent. None of us are worth following. The only man for the faithful to follow (cue that preacher from the Old Time Gospel Hour) is a certain carpenter and fisher of men from Nazareth.