Did God Really Kill Onan for Spilling His Seed or for Something Else?

A reevaluation of Onanism in Genesis 38

Today we examine the sin of Onan and whether God directly killed Onan merely for the sin of contraception or for something more?

Before I begin this article, know from the outset that I uphold the teaching of the Catholic Church with regard to sexual morality and contraception. And while I believe and practice the Catholic teaching, I will suggest that the sin of Onan in Genesis 38:9 is not chiefly about the sin of contraception (by way of coitus interruptus) but rather relates to Messianic sacrilege.

First off, what is Onanism?

Webster’s Dictionary defines Onanism as:

1:masturbation
2:coitus interruptus
3:self-gratification

Onanism in the Context of Levirate Marriage:

Onanism is named after the biblical Onan who in Genesis 33 is told by his father, the Patriarch Judah (father of one of the twelve tribes of Israel), to have sex his dead brother’s widow Tamar so that she is not childless. Having sex with the widow of your brother is called “Levirate marriage.”

It is called “Levirate” marriage because the the Latin word “levir” means “husband’s brother.” Centuries after the time of Judah and Onan, Levirate marriage was mandated by God through Moses in Deuteronomy 25:5-6.

If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the dead shall not be married outside the family to a stranger; her husband’s brother shall go in to her, and take her as his wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. And the first son whom she bears shall succeed to the name of his brother who is dead, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel.

Levirate marriage is interesting because it a biblically sanctioned form of either fornication/adultery. For example, Judah’s son Er dies and leave his wife Tamar a widow. His younger brother Onan is required to have sex with Er’s widow Tamar and give her children. This happens whether Onan is not married (sex with Tamar would normally be fornication) or whether Onan is already married to another woman (sex with Tamar would then normally be adultery). It’s not clear from the text, but if the union of the man and the widow constitutes a real marriage, then he’d have multiple wives (sex with Tamar would require polygamy).

Either way, Onan and Tamar are having sex outside of natural law of marriage between one man and one woman, and the arrangement is sanctioned by God. (It’s a situation requiring a footnote.) Moreover, the child produced by these sexual relations would NOT belong to Onan’s house or lineage, but rather to his dead brother Er as Deuteronomy later makes apparent.

The Death of Onan after “Spilling Seed” in Genesis 38:

Here is the precise situation of Er (the deceased), Tamar (Er’s widow), and Onan (younger surviving brother of Er) in Genesis 38:

Then Judah said to [his son] Onan, “Go in to your brother’s wife [Tamar], and perform the duty of a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.” But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother’s wife he spilled the semen on the ground, lest he should give offspring to his brother. And what he did was displeasing in the sight of the Lord, and he slew him also.

Onan’s sin by spilling his semen on the ground is so great that God immediately kills him. This sin of Onanism is terribly grave.

Catholic Apologists (including myself in two my own books) have pointed to Onanism in Genesis 38 as a prohibition against contraception. And they are right to do so, but God did not kill Onan merely for spilling his semen outside of Tamar. Thousands of men have spilled their seed through masturbation and coitus interruptus before, during, and after this time period, and none of them, as far as we know, received a direct death penalty from the Lord.

Why then did God kill Onan in this special case?

Might I suggest that Onan’s sin was especially grave because he was the eldest surviving son of the patriarch Judah. As such he is designated ancestor for the line of the Messiah of Israel. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Lion of Judah and Matthew and Luke’s Gospels show that Christ descends from the genetic tribe of Judah.

The narrative goes on to show that this widow Tamar grows desperate so that she veils herself as a prostitute and hired herself out to Judah who does not know that the prostitute is actually his daughter in law. And from their illicit union springs the Messianic line descending into Jesus Christ Himself. Tamar is one of the few women explictly named in the geneology of Christ in Matthew:

and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram. (Gen 1:3)

Jewish Irony of Sexual Rights

From a Jewish point of view, the story is ironic. Onan has the right to have sex with Tamar and he spills his seed and despises his birthright as a Messianic forebear. Judah their father actually pays to have sex with Tamar, and he plants the seed and by doing so skips over his sons. The sons no longer have the privilege of being in the lineage of Jesus Christ. This is why, I believe, Onan is killed directly by God. Onan was not likely the first man to masturbate or practice coitus interruptus (both are sins). His GREATER sin was that he despised the Messianic dynasty of the Christ.

Onan engages in coitus interruptus and the Lord slew him. Judah the father engages in prostitution, adultery, and incest…and he lives. The deciding factor over life and death here is willingness to produce a genetic line in accord with the promises of God.

A Final Thought on Judah as Messianic Forebear:

Genesis repeatedly flips the divine inheritance rights of the first born son. Abraham bears Ishmael first and later Isaac. But Isaac is given the covenantal Messianic birthright. Isaac bears Esau and Jacob. But Jacob the younger wins the covenantal Messianic birthright by way of trickery.

Jacob’s first four sons (in order) are: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah. But the first three lose their birthrights:

  • In Genesis 34, the second and third born Simeon and Levi lose their status with their father Jacob for their violence.
  • In Genesis 35, Reuben the first born copulates with his step-mother and loses the rights as first-born of Israel.
  • In Genesis 36, we read of the descendents of Esau – those that did not receive the covenantal birthright.
  • In Genesis 37, Judah intervenes to have Joseph sold as a slave, rather than be killed or left in a waterless pit. This shows Judah as righteous and rightly next in line for the covenantal blessing.
  • In Genesis 38, we have the story of Er, Onan, and Tamar with Judah copulating with his daughter-in-law Tamar.

It’s obvious that the narrative from Gen 34-38 is trying to establish not 1-Reuben, 2-Simeon, or 3-Levi as the rightful heir of Abraham, but the fourth born Judah as the rightful heir. Judah’s sons are so sinful that God arranges (by trickery of Tamar) for Judah to copulate with Tamar and skip over his sons altogether.

Conclusion: Sexual Ethics and the Messiah

It’s stunning for any reader of the Bible to see how casually it mentions prostitution, fornication (eg. Samson), adultery, and polygamy. Abraham even seems willing (twice) to share his beautiful wife sexually with rulers so as not to be killed himself.

It almost seems that God totally tolerates sexual sins among the great male saints of the Old Testament. That is is why it is so surprising when God directly intervenes and kills Onan for his sexual sin. This is why I think we can conclude that the “sin of Onan” was not merely contraception by way of coitus interruptus. Rather, Onan’s sin was he was interfering with the dynasty of the promised “Seed of Adam and Abraham” – Our Lord Jesus Christ.

The theological purpose of the book Genesis is track “the Seed” from Adam > Abraham > Isaac > Jacob > Judah. And it seems that Gen 34-38 is all a transition to highlight Judah. If so, then the sin of Onan is made profoundly grave not because its mere contraception, but that it’s contraceiving the plan of God for Judah’s messianic dynasty leading to “the Promised Seed” of Genesis 3:15, who is the Messiah.

If you’d like to learn more Old Testament history, check out my book on Judaism and Catholicism: The Crucified Rabbi and sign up for online biblical, historical, and theological classes at the New Saint Thomas Institute.

When Parents Die: Vladimir Lenin vs St John Paul II

When Vladimir Lenin’s father died, he declared that God could not exist, and he became and atheist and Marxist.

When Karol Wojtyła’s mother died, his faith in Christ became deeper, and he became a priest, became Pope John Paul II, and was later canonized as a saint.

Both men had pious fathers and both men lost their parents.

However, Lenin became a tyrant and mass-murderer. John Paul II became an inspiration for the entire world and pointed people to return to faith in Christ.

What made the difference in their life choices?

Question: Please leave a comment to share your ideas or thoughts on this. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Will you know everything in Heaven? Thomas Aquinas answers

Will you know everything in Heaven? This question is best answered by exploring the spiritual gift of “counsel.”

One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is “counsel.”

What is counsel? Thomas Aquinas defines counsel in this way:

Again, it is proper to the rational creature to be moved through the research of reason to perform any particular action, and this research is called counsel. (STh II-II, q. 52, a. 1).

So counsel is research led by the influence of the Holy Spirit. Thomas also explains how it relates to the virtue of prudence – making right decisions.

It might be asked whether this gift of counsel remains in Heaven. Do the saints in Heaven need counsel? Do the angels need counsel?

Thomas says that counsel remains in the blessed and in the angels. Why?

Because the human saints and the angels in Heaven do not know everything. Contrary to what you may have learned in Sunday school, God doesn’t reveal everything to us in Heaven. There will remain mysteries.

The Blessed Virgin Mary knows more than the angels and saints, but she is still limited in our celestial knowledge. Only the Persons of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) know all things. Only the three person of the Holy Trinity are omniscient.

Because humans and angels in Heaven are not omniscient, we will continue to seek spiritual counsel. Angels are guided into helping those on earth. Even humans are guided by counsel from the Holy Spirit in aiding those on earth. Yes, Holy Mary, Saint Joseph, Saint Peter, Saint Therese of Lisieux, and your guardian angel continue to exercise that spiritual gift of “counsel.”

And we on earth especially need spiritual counsel. How do we gain it:

  1. by not clouding our minds with venial or mortal sin.
  2. by checking in with the Holy Spirit frequently throughout the day “Am I living your will for my life?”
  3. by reading the documents written by the Holy Spirit – Sacred Scripture. Here we find explicit teaching and advice for our lives.
  4. by explicitly asking the Holy Spirit to give us counsel on difficult problems in our lives.

Godspeed,
Dr Taylor Marshall

PS: You might also enjoy my Podcast: Did the Holy Spirit really appear as a Real Dove?

I Had a Donald Trump Dream Last Night

Last night I had a dream that I was having dinner with Donald Trump.

He was looking for an expert in natural law and positive law to advise him for the next four years and he wanted me to walk him through the Catholic position on the matter.

It was a vivid dream:

I can remember the food on the table (fried chicken fingers!) as I step-by-step guided Mr. Trump through Saint Thomas Aquinas’ Summa theologiae I-II qq. 91-95. I wrote my PhD dissertation on this section of the Summa, so I literally “know it in my sleep.”

We talked about eternal law and natural law and the relationship between civil/human law to natural law. It was a dream-state Socratic dialogue between me and The Donald.

And then I woke up.

Mr. Trump if you have questions on natural law, I’m ready. (But let’s get something better than chicken fingers.)

Make America in Accord with Natural Law Again.

#MAIAWNLA

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Saint Hubert – Patron Saint of Bowhunters (and Jagermeister)

Whenever I talk about hunting, I get critics who think I’m a mean red-neck killer. Before the critics cast their stones, let it be know that I hunt because:

saint Hubertus taylor marshall bowhunting

  1. Hunting provides organic, grass-fed, hormone free meat for my family of 8 children.
  2. It feels exhilarating to serve food to your family that you trained for, hunted, butchered, prepared, and cooked.
  3. I like having a tangible connection with the food that I prepare and eat.
  4. Hunting is the #1 way to promote funding for wildlife conservation.
  5. I love the outdoors.
  6. It’s a craft or an art that requires practice and dedication.
  7. All of our ancestors did it.

We were recently discussing the Troops of Saint George achievement in “Hunting” and I suggested that we focus on Saint Hubert, the patron saint of hunting:

Saint Hubertus was born around the year AD 656. Saint Hubert’s wife (the daughter of a count) died giving birth to their son who would eventually become a bishop. Heartbroken by the death of his wife, Saint Hubert retreated from the court and gave himself up entirely to hunting.

On Good Friday morning, when the faithful were crowding the churches, Hubert went hunting. As he was pursuing a magnificent stag, the animal turned and he beheld a crucifix standing between its antlers, while he heard a voice saying:
St.Hubert Ottawa“Hubert, unless thou turn to the Lord, and lead an holy life, thou shalt quickly go down into Hell”.

Hubert dismounted, prostrated himself and said, “Lord, what would Thou have me do?” He received the answer, “Go and seek Lambert [bishop of Maastricht-Liège, Tongeren], and he will instruct you.”

He was condemned by God not for hunting but for withdrawing from the world and shirking his duties as a member of court and as a Christian (he was out hunting on Good Friday!).

Saint Hubertus is honored among hunters as the father of ethical hunting behavior. It is said that Saint Hubertus established the hunting principle of conserving wildlife, not killing a mother with its young, and preferring older bucks and bulls past their breeding prime. He also advocated only shooting an animal when a humane, clean and quick kill is assured.

After leaving the wilderness as a hunter, he became a priest and eventually the successor bishop to his master Saint Lambert of Maastricht. He was famous for his asceticism and preaching.

He is thus the patron saint of hunters, and bowhunters in particular.

For those interested, here’s a podcast I did about one of my hunts for Indian Nilgai.

Question: Share your thoughts about ethical hunting and/or Saint Hubert. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Fun facts:

  • Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died while on a hunt for the members of the International Order of St. Hubertus.
  • The Jägermeister logo is taken from the vision of Saint Hubertus. Jägermeister means “master hunter.”

jagermeister

 

Receiving Sacraments in Mortal Sin – What Happens?

One of our Members of the New Saint Thomas Institute, Dr Ken Hare, (who appeared on this podcast with me) had an excellent question recently in the Forums of the New Saint Thomas Institute. This question came up on our studies regarding Holy Matrimony and obstacles to a valid marriage:

marriage rings

Tagging onto part of Helene’s question, with regard to the impediments of lack of openness to having children as well as lack of commitment to marital fidelity, what if one of those exists at the time of the original marriage, but thru conversion of heart ceases to exist at some point thereafter? Can an originally invalid marriage at that point become valid?

Answer:

A canonically invalid marriage can later become valid.

It’s like the example of confirmation from a previous lesson:

A 14 year old boy could validly receive the sacrament of Confirmation in a state of mortal sin. He would receive zero habitual grace upon reception of the sacrament because of the obstruction of mortal sin. However, if he were not making an explicit act of the will against receiving the sacrament of Confirmation, he would validly receive the sacrament (and the indelible character of Confirmation), but not the grace of the sacrament, nor the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

If he stayed away from Christ and the Church for 30 years from that day but then one day he made a good confession, suddenly at that moment of absolution, his soul would be FLOODED not just with the grace of justification, but with all the graces of Confirmation that had been held in reserve until that moment. This is why people sometimes experience such a spiritual experience when they make a confession after a long time. They are receiving sacramental graces accrued from the past!

There is also radical sanation of Matrimony whereby a bishop can validate a previously invalid marriage. The previously lost graces of Holy Matrimony are restored to the couple. Some people like to use the analogy of a “sacramental time machine” but I don’t like that analogy.

With regard to “artificial contraception so as to avoid the conception of children” this is an impediment to valid sacramental marriage. However, the openness to life later on would demonstrate a valid marriage. The previous graces would come to rest. The couple would not need to perform the marriage liturgy again in order to have a valid marriage since the original form stands. If, however, they were Catholics married outside the Church (lacking form) then they would have to perform the marriage liturgy to have  valid marriage.

Interestingly enough, the sacrament of confession is always a “reactivating” of sacramental baptism. Confession or reconciliation is a sacrament in its own right, but it is restorative of the state of baptism. This is why baptism must always be received prior to confession. Sacramental absolution removes all guilt and eternal punishment, but temporal punishment can remain – hence the need for penance and indulgences even for those who have been to confession.

As with the Confirmation example above, the same could be true of Holy Orders. A man could receive Holy Order in a state of mortal sin. He would be validly ordained and could confect the sacraments. He would say a valid Mass. But the habitual grace of Holy Orders to assist him in ministry would be lacking in his soul. He would be a valid priest but for the sake of his salvation, not well-equipped. When he made a good confession, his soul would be justified an in that moment it would receive the habitual grace of Holy Orders.

It goes without saying that receiving sacraments (especially the Eucharist) in a state of mortal sin (except baptism) is always sacrilegious.

Please leave a question below if it’s still not clear.

Godspeed,

Taylor Marshall, PhD

Today is my Birthday: My Strategy for Having a Happy Life

Today, March 29, is my birthday and I’m grateful to God to be alive. I have been given faith in Christ, a beautiful wife Joy, wonderful children, and a group of godly friends who keep me on track.

Taylor Marshall Family

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I have found that the secret to happiness is to be verbally grateful every single day. If I feel down, bitter, or discouraged, I can regain my joy by thanking God for what is good.

I have a typed list of “gratitudes to God” that I recite to the Lord every single day. It’s on my phone. I have made a deal with myself THAT I MUST PRAY TO GOD THROUGH THIS LIST EVERY DAY AND PERSONALLY THANK HIM. I usually pray to God through this list in front of the tabernacle at Church. It includes my wife, my house, my children, my friends, and many other small details in my life that you might find silly or stupid. But they mean a lot to me and I feel that I should thank God for them daily.

If you are a reader of this blog, a listener to the podcasts, or a student a the New Saint Thomas Institute, I thank God for you every day and I pray for you every day. Thank you for being a blessing in my life.

If you are a man, I’ve created a “A Man’s 11 Point Checklist for Living the Good Life” which you can download at over at The Maccabee Society. It will give you 11 simple things you can do every day to live a fulfilled and joyful life as a man. Many of them apply to women, but I wrote them specifically for Christian men since they often struggle in life.

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Here are three podcasts I’ve recorded on how to find Joy and Meaning in your life:

Did You Miss God’s Plan for Your Life?

How to Escape Joyless Catholicism, Part 1

How to Escape Joyless Catholicism, Part 2

Have a great day and thank you for being part of my life. I’m grateful for you!

Godspeed,

Taylor

Top 10 Manly Christmas Gifts for Men (2015 Edition)

It’s time for the 2015 Manly Christmas Gift Guide!

For the sixth year in a row, I am featuring the Top Ten Manly Christmas Gifts for Men – stuff that men want but don’t ask for.

Manly Christmas Gifts

* If you received this post by email, you’ll want to click “Always Display Images” in your email client so that you can see the manly gift images.

Every year you’ve come to expect it, and every year I get ready for angry liberals complaining about my advocacy for pocket knives, guns, scotch, pipes, and leather.

After doing this list for six years, I now get stopped by wives who say, “Thanks for your annual Men’s Christmas Gift Guide. My husband loved the thermos and knife that you recommended.” Recently, a Catholic dad related to me, “My wife followed your Christmas manly gift guide. Thanks for recommending the scotch decanter. I love it.” Last year we even caused Amazon to sell out of pocket Bibles.

Like last year I have an improved list with more information on knives and how a lady can choose the right knife for the men in her life.

Men, it’s not bad taste to forward this post to your wife’s email account.

When your man gets back to work after Christmas and someone asks, “So what did you get for Christmas?” let him say something more than “Oh you know, a couple of new shirts and a tie.”

Top Ten Manly Christmas Gifts for Men (drumroll…)

Below is a guide for Manly Christmas Gifts: your husband, brother, or grandpa. Seriously, you can’t wrong with the following ten gifts. They’re all winners. So here we go:

Islamic Refugee Crisis: Good Samaritan or Maccabean Response? Or both

What would Thomas Aquinas Say?

What would Saint Thomas Aquinas say about the Refugee Crisis?

We as Christians are debating among ourselves about whether or not we have a moral duty to receive refugees fleeing Muslim nations.

This article is politically incorrect and says things that might shock you. Please read the entire article until the very last two paragraphs before making a judgment or writing incendiary comments. This might be one of the clearest things you’ve read on the topic, because it draws on virtue ethics of Thomas Aquinas – something generally ignored in our day and age. – Godspeed, Taylor Marshall

Are We Good Samaritans?

As Christians we remember Our Lord’s parable about the Good Samaritan recounting how the outwardly religious clerics (the priest and the levite) passed the injured man in the road, but how the Samaritan proved to “be his neighbor” and care for him. Christ rebukes the outwardly religious hypocrites and commends the good Samaritan.

When it comes to the refugee crises, none of us wants to be the hypocrite who turns his steps to the opposite side of road to avoid caring for an injured victim.

Or Are We Good Maccabeans?

Meanwhile, if you are Catholic, you’ve been listening to the book of Maccabees this week in the daily Mass readings. These biblical lessons approvingly recount how Mattathias along with his Maccabean sons and companions rightfully used physical violence against their political oppressors the Seleucid Greeks who were actively using force to undermine the conscience and convictions of the People of God.

So which are we?

Are we the caring Samaritans or the crusading Maccabeans?

The Catholic political theology of Saint Thomas Aquinas can help us with this question:

Thomas Aquinas Black largeLet’s first suspend all emotional appeals, and set down a few logical and calm points of agreement to get us all on the same page:

  • In the Summa theologiae, Thomas Aquinas places politics under the civic virtue of patriotism which is itself a sub-virtue of justice. Our discussion is ultimately not about “politics” but the virtuous duties of justice toward God, our families, our nations, and all of humanity (in that order).
  • For Thomas Aquinas, all political human laws must be: 1) in accord with reason; 2) published or promulgated; 3) by rightful political authority; and for the common good (See STh q. 90, aa. 1-4). If a political law is lacking in any of these four attributes, it is for Thomas, not a law at all.
  • The duty of the political magistrates (the Republic or Kingdom) are by the virtue of justice different than the duty of the civilian person. Citizens are not de facto judges, soldiers, police officers, or legislators (STh q. 90, a. 3).
  • Muslims explicitly affirm that Muhammad is the Last Prophet of God.
  • Muslims explicitly affirm that Our Lord Jesus Christ is certainly not the Son of God.
  • These two Muslim affirmations place all Muslims in implicit or explicit theological contradiction with Christians who profess Jesus Christ as the Son of God and consequently conclude that Muhammad was a false prophet.
  • For Sunni Muslims (the majority of global Muslims), the mandate to erect Sharia law in every human government is a doctrine of faith. Muslims must in accord with their conscience pursue this theological belief that Sharia law must be promulgated in every human society (England, France, Poland, USA, Mexico, etc.)

So how does this apply to Refugees from Islamic nations?

When we move through the logical points above, we begin to discover a few logical conclusions:

  1. Muslims are bound by conscience to erect Sharia law in your nation. This is a bad thing for baptized Christians. At best it means being taxed at a higher rate (the Muslim jizya tax for Christians). At worse it means death.
  2. If you live in a democracy, a 51% political Islamic majority will allow “we the people” to promulgate Sharia law. They are following their conscience and religious beliefs in this matter. They will do this just as they have done in any other community where they captured the majority (Mecca, Palestine, Egypt, Syria, etc.)
  3. It is a duty of of justice for Christian people to strive to prevent the promulgation of false laws (i.e. those contrary to reason or the common good). Christians are called to be politically active and advocates for the common good and natural law.
  4. While we have the Christian duty to care for the refugee, the sick, the victim, and the injured, we have a greater common duty by justice to preserve the state of law and our religious liberty first and foremost.

We see this principle in our Scriptural readings. When it comes to the Samaritan, he rightfully cares for the victim. However, when it comes to the nation and the threat of terrorism (Seleucid Greeks), false laws, and the danger of our children, military, and civic peace, we (like the Maccabees) are politically obliged to resist, protect, and expel…for the common good.

The Analogy of the Familial Home

I am the head of a household. I earn an income to feed my wife and my children. With my surplus, I care for orphans, widows, the church, pro-life causes, single-mothers, and other apostolates that I feel God has called me to support.

Justice and charity demand that I care for the less fortunate and it is a Catholic belief that our salvation depends on how we treat the hungry, the naked, the homeless, and the sick.

MOREOVER….

I am not obliged to take the homeless into my house and have them sleep in my daughter’s bedroom at night. I am not obliged by justice or charity to give the homeless a vote over my financial decisions. He does not have the right to choose what’s for dinner. The homeless man does not (by my charity) receive a right to my continued support. The homeless man cannot share a bed with my wife when I am traveling. Nor may he presume a right over my children’s belongings.

refugees

Since we live in a democracy (“we the people”), political refugees de facto gain a measure of political authority over our laws, taxes, finances, military, religious holidays, and legislative bodies.

This principle applies to refugees universally. It applies even more so when the refugee in his conscience believes that he is morally obligated to introduce and vote for the enshrinement of Sharia law.

There is also the further problem that 5%-20% of global Muslims are considered to be “radicalized,” which means that they are consciously willing to use terrorist tactics to advance their Muslim worldview against the West. If you knew that 10% of your child’s Halloween candy was poisoned, would you allow your child to consume any of it?

So what would Thomas Aquinas say?

I’m afraid that Thomas would be much harsher than most of us would feel comfortable with.

Thomas prizes the “common good” so highly under the virtue of political justice that he openly promotes arms and capital punishment against those who are publicly “dangerous and infectious.”

The common good is the peace of society so that life and faith can thrive. Babies can be born and have a happy life. Grandparents can grow old together. Anyone who seeks to destroy the common good should be, according to Thomas, destroyed.

Thomas Aquinas also taught that anyone that fomented “danger to the community” or heretical movements is worthy of the death penalty:

“Therefore if a man be dangerous and infectious to the community, on account of some sin, it is praiseworthy and advantageous that he be killed in order to safeguard the common good.” STh II-II q. 64, a. 2.

It is permissible to kill a criminal if this is necessary for the welfare of the whole community. However, this right belongs only to the one entrusted with the care of the whole community — just as a doctor may cut off an infected limb, since he has been entrusted with the care of the health of the whole body. STh II-II q. 64, a. 3.

Have no doubt that Thomas Aquinas would have stated that Christian nations should receive Christian refugees but refuse Muslim refugees for the sake of national justice and the common good. The Muslim’s official declaration of faith denies natural law (eg, polygamy), religious liberty (eg, Sharia), and implicitly Muhammad’s doctrine and example of political violence.

What’s our Catholic Response? The Samaritan Uses the Hotel

We Christians should be generous with humanitarian aid toward Muslims and all people. We should send money and resources to those who have been dispossessed. We should be loving and generous with Muslims. Kindness brings about conversion and understanding. We should also try to topple the Islamic State and eradicate terrorism in our lands and in the Islamic lands.

Remember the Good Samaritan! He did not take the roadside victim home with him. Rather, the Good Samaritan put the victim up in a hotel and paid for him to get better. The Good Samaritan was good and commended by Christ. The Good Samaritan did the right thing: humanitarian aid.

We are not required by Christ to take victims that oppose our faith and our way of life and make them into our political heirs. We are not required to take them into our homes.

But we are obliged to help them. And if terrorists use our charity as a pretense to hurt us, then, as Thomas Aquinas says, they should be swiftly destroyed.

Saint Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.

Godspeed,
Taylor Marshall

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Question: Do you agree? I’d love to hear from you. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

PS: If you like how we broke this issue down into bite-sized theological information and then logically built up a position using the wisdom of Saint Thomas Aquinas, then you are probably a key candidate for becoming a student at our New Saint Thomas Institute:

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