Knoxville’s New Socialist City Council Member Omits ‘So Help Me God’ When Taking Oath

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The new Democratic Socialists of America-endorsed city council member in Knoxville recently took the oath of office — but she chose to disregard the part of the oath that mentions God.

This, according to, which mentioned newly-elected council member Amelia Parker.

“New Councilwoman Amelia Parker reaffirmed her campaign commitment to the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment principle of separating church and state by taking the oath of office without including the customaryso help me Godphrase,” according to the website. (emphasis added)

“Her oath, like the other five oaths sworn by officeholders, included commitments to uphold the U.S. and Tennessee constitutions and the city charter and ordinances,” the article added.

Though the phrase “so help me God” is often included in oaths taken by state and local elected officials, the Tennessee Constitution does not require its inclusion in oaths of office, according to the website of the Tennessee Secretary of State.

Sources tell The Tennessee Star that failure to include the phrase in the oath of office by a newly elected member of the City Council may, however, be in violation of a Knoxville City Ordinance.

As The Star reported in November, members of the Democratic Socialists of America endorsed three candidates for the Knoxville City Council. They did this, apparently, as part of a movement to get candidates elected in states that support U.S. Republican President Donald Trump.

Parker was the only one of the three candidates to win his or her respective election. David Hayes and Charles Al-Bawi fell short.

Parker defeated opponent Amy Midis by a margin of 51 percent to 49 percent.

Members of the Knoxville DSA, meanwhile, congratulated Parker on their Facebook page and said they “are beyond thrilled.”

According to Yahoo Finance, “America’s socialists reckon they’re on a roll” and are running locally in Trump-friendly states.

“But now it’s spreading across the Rust Belt, Midwest and South. At least 60 branches of the Democratic Socialists of America, the most prominent among a bunch of reinvigorated leftist groups — have sprung up in the past year, mostly in conservative areas where President Donald Trump did well with voters.”

According to, these DSA-endorsed candidates win elections by “running on platforms that reject capitalism and promote working class interests.”

University of Houston law professor Kellen Zale said DSA-endorsed councilmembers are in a better position to accomplish their policy objectives than people elected at the national level.

Parker is not the first left-of-center politician to embrace doing away with God.

As The Star reported in May, people who testify before the U.S. House of Representatives no longer must say “so help me God” under oath, and this reportedly delighted Tennessee Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN-09).

House Democrats altered the oath after they assumed a majority over Republicans in January.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to
Photo “Amelia Parker” by Amelia Parker. Background Photo “Knoxville City County Building” by Brian Stansberry. CC BY 3.0.




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10 Thoughts to “Knoxville’s New Socialist City Council Member Omits ‘So Help Me God’ When Taking Oath”

  1. […] Knoxville city council member rejects oath with “So help me God.” CLICK HERE […]

  2. scary times

    Uhh what is the murder rate for PRO socialist communities ?

  3. […] As reported this week, Amelia Parker, Knoxville’s newly elected city council member,  recently took the oath of office — but she chose to disregard the part that mentions God. […]

  4. Brian Curtis

    The article seems to overlook the obvious point: the phrase “so help me God” is unconstitutional. Omitting it is entirely appropriate.

  5. Y

    William wins the internet! #PeoplePeacePlanetOverREDstateprofit

  6. Wolf Woman

    Knoxville politics have long been influenced by the Christian socialists’ Highlander Folk School, now known as the Highlander Research and Education Center in New Market, TN.

    It’s too bad that people don’t understand what socialism will do to a city or a country. The dysfunctional cities of San Francisco, Chicago and New York come to mind. And then you have the great socialist countries of Venezuela, North Korea, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, China, Mauritius, etc.

    Socialism is all about the collective. It is based on an idealistic social and economic system that penalizes the individual (except those at the top), stifles creativity and the gives our power to the state in a futile search for “social justice” and with the aim of equality of outcome.” Socialism is soft communism and leads to censorship and totalitarianism.

    1. Defensis Prime

      …this was so stupid, reading it gave me optical cancer.

  7. William R. Delzell

    What? Socialism in Knoxville and in historically Republican East Tennessee? That seems too good to be true!

  8. Randy

    It matters who governs. Voter turn out consisting of those looking to government for more stuff will be our undoing. Socialism does not work for those actually paying the bill for it.