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Crossing the Rubicon

Posse Comitatus

After Hurricane Katrina, President Bush called for the weakening of “The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878” to allow more federal "control" of emergency situations. But would the elimination of that legislative Act of the Congress United States increase any lawful authority for the federal military to use its power and might to control the population of America?

In Latin, “Posse Comitatus” meant "to be able to attend," and referred to those who were able to come together for the protection of the community. In Latin, the word “comitiatus” meant “an assembly.” Posse Comitatus included those who were able to be a part of a retinue (or force) in defense of justice and the life of the community. This right and responsibility within a community did not begin with the Posse Comitatus Act. The principles of Posse Comitatus have been an essential part of free governments since the dawn of mankind.

In the common law, Posse Comitatus included those who could be summoned by their titular leaders, chosen by the people in times of need, for the purposes of defending the community from thieves, robbers, and usurpers of rights. It became the right of a lawful sheriff to enlist aid of those available, but did not obligate him to do so.

In 1856, Bouvier's stated “But with respect to writs which issue, in the first instance, to arrest in civil suits, the sheriff is not bound to take the posse comitatus to assist him in the execution of them: though he may, if he pleases, on forcible resistance to the execution of the process.”1

All Natural Rights, and therefore the law that governs those rights, comes from God---not from the legislature. The acts of the legislatures of men must be in conformity to the original Natural Law. Rights granted by government are not really rights at all, but privileges subject to the authority granted to government by a lawful constitution and the consent of the people.

The rights of men granted by God have always had inherent corresponding responsibilities. If those responsibilities are delegated to a created entity or government, that government may obtain control of the exercising authority over the enjoyment of that original right.

It is the responsibility of all within a community to exercise the rights and duties of brotherhood and mutual respect in the defense of their rights and the rights of their neighbor. To fail to exercise that mutual responsibility denigrates the corresponding right. In fact, it has been stated, “A refusal on the part of an individual lawfully called upon to assist the officer in putting down a riot is indictable.”2

The Posse Comitatus Act of 18783 was a restriction by the Congress imposed on local authority in time of emergency concerning the use of the federal military. That use was made a crime:

“From and after the passage of this act it shall not be lawful to employ any part of the Army of the United States, as a posse comitatus, or otherwise, for the purpose of executing the laws, except in such cases and under such circumstances as such employment of said force may be expressly authorized by the Constitution or by act of Congress; and no money appropriated by this act shall be used to pay any of the expenses incurred in the employment of any troops in violation of this section, and any person willfully violating the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction thereof shall be punished by fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars or imprisonment not exceeding two years or by both such fine and imprisonment.”4

The imposition of this restriction by the federal legislature was lawful because of their authority over the resources of the federal military, not because of any power over the local authorities within the States. Any elimination of The Posse Comitatus Act would not allow more federal "control" of emergency situations, as deceptively suggested by administration officials and the press. It would simply allow local government to receive aid from the federal military under local government control.

According to the 1856 edition of Bouvier's, those forces would be under the authority of local controls.

“The sheriff has authority by the common law, while acting under the authority of the writ of the United States, commonwealth or people, as the case may be, and for the purpose of preserving the public peace, to call to his aid the posse comitatus.”5

It has been suggested and proclaimed that essentially repealing or overriding the Posse Comitatus Act gives a power and right for the Federal government to bring the military to enforce domestic order. But, according to Section 4 of the Constitution “The United States ... shall protect each of them [the States] against Invasion...”6 The federal government has no authority to bring federal troops into the States to enforce rule or control the people. It is only delegated the authority to protect against foreign invasion not regulate or police the citizens of America.

History has warned us of the dangers and disaster to a free republic when a professional army, created for the purposes of protecting from foreign invasion, is used instead for the enforcement of internal order. Ancient Roman law forbade any General from crossing the Rubicon River and entering Rome with a standing army to control the people. It would be an act of treason. When Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon with the military to subdue the people, “the die was cast” for the demise of the Republic.

The role of the federal military has increased by leaps and bounds over the last century. We have seen it policing the rest of the world, and now Americans have been steadily conditioned to the sight of the federal military enforcing law within the States with the “War on Drugs,” military security in airports, and the disarming of citizens in New Orleans, who were merely defending their property against riots and disorder.

It is the obligation of all Americans to protect and secure the right of the people from unlawful acts, from criminal elements of society, and the usurpers of the Natural Rights, both foreign and domestic.

Since, the Posse Comitatus Act only limited the access of local authority to the use and control of the Federal military, then, to suspend that Act would only serve to reinstate the local authority's right to use that military for lawful purposes in the protection of the rights of the people, in support of a lawful sheriff acting for the people.

The expansion of federal military authority to act with police powers over the free exercise of natural rights of the people of America granted by God would be comparable to Caesar's crossing of the Rubicon. We can only imagine history continuing the process of repeating itself with the death of the Republic and leading to the eventual decline and fall of the American empire.

The next article is

Romans 13 and Christ's “Clergy Response Teams”

By Brother Gregory




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Posse Comitatus

Romans 13 and Christ's “Clergy Response Teams”

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Elements of the kingdom

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11856 edition of Bouviers 2 Inst. 193; 3 Inst. 161.

21 Carr. & Marsh. 314. In this case will be found the form of an indictment for this offense.

3Posse Comitatus Act of 1878(18 USC 1385)

4Chapter 263, Section 15, Army as Posse Comitatus: June 18, 1878

51856 edition of Bouviers

6Section 4. “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.”


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