Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – Leahy was joined in studio by all-star panelist Dr. Carol Swain to discuss a newly elected socialist to the city council in Knoxville, Tennessee last week.
During the first segment, Leahy and Swain questioned socialist Amelia Parker’s (pictured above) validity as a new city council member due to the fact that she refused to use the term “so help me God” during her swearing in ceremony. Leahy went on to cite the Knoxville City Ordinance 2.4, which clearly states the phrase is required of all newly elected officials.
Leahy: Carol Swain our all-star panelist and former Vanderbilt professor, PhD. in political science and a master’s degree in legal studies from Yale University.
Swain: And jack of all trades. (Chuckles)
Leahy: And that’s a pretty strong background, Carol. (Swain chuckles) So I wanted to chat with you a little bit about our story over the weekend about this new socialist city council member in Knoxville She won barely 51% to 49%. And she was sworn in on December 21. But there’s a little bit of an asterisk there.
It’s interesting to see how the Knoxville News Sentinel reported this. Of course, the Knoxville News Sentinel is owned by Gatehouse Gannett. You know the same company that’s taking The Tennessean and putting it into an operation where they don’t really have anything much in the way of local news anymore and getting rid of reporters left and right.
Swain: It’s a great opportunity for the Tennessee Star to become the number one newspaper in the area.
Leahy: Exactly! We are growing. We’re adding salespeople and adding reporters. People are reading us. We had one million unique visitors. Our ratings here at the radio show are record ratings in December. So we’re growing and they’re shrinking.
Swain: That’s because we have adult conversations with facts and reality.
Leahy: Well yeah. Speaking of facts and reality. I’m going to read how the Knoxville News Sentinel reported this. “New councilwoman Amelia Parker reaffirmed her campaign (she’s a Democrat socialist by the way. Like a AOC wannabe) committed to the separation of church and state by taking the oath of office without including the customary ‘so help me god phrase.'”
This is what the Knoxville News Sentinel reported. In other words, whatever her spin was, they delivered. That was her campaign statement. Her campaign commitment to the First Amendment principle of separating church and state. If you read the First Amendment, all it says about church and state is that Congress should make no law establishing a relationship. That’s all it says!
Swain: It was meant to restrain the government. Not people’s free exercise.
Leahy: Exactly! Now, here’s a little bit off a twist. So the oath of office says you know, I’m going to do this job right. And so the phrase “so help me God.” Now it’s traditionally included in most oaths given by newly elected state and newly elected officials.
If you look at the Tennessee Constitution it doesn’t require so help me God the oath. But, if you look at the Knoxville City ordinances, there is a specific ordinance, Ordinance 2.4 which specifies exactly what the oath of office must be. And the phrase, “so help me God” is included in that ordinance.
Swain: Are you telling me that she’s not really sworn in because she’s not followed the law?
Leahy: It would seem to me that’s the case.
Swain: We better notify them right away.
Leahy: We are going to do that Carol. (Snickers) Yes! That’s exactly the point. Chris Butler, by the way, did the story on it and he’s going to call the Knoxville City Attorney General. And clearly, she’s violated a city ordinance.
Swain: But you know something? I prefer that people reveal who they really are and their motivations. And even going back to the Obama years when I was on the National Endowment for the Humanities as an appointee.
There were some people that were being sworn in and not really being sworn in on the Bible. It’s been lucy goosey for a long time. And people don’t take the oath of office very seriously. If they did, you would not see the shenanigans that take place in Washington.
Leahy: Well, I think you raise a good point. If you take an oath of office but you violate a city ordinance in doing the wrong oath, which is what she did. I don’t know if she really is a city counselor now. And I don’t know if any vote was taken by the city council…
Swain: Nobody will challenge her because they don’t want to get into the racial dimensions of it.
Leahy: I’m not so sure about that.
Swain: Well, I mean you might. But I’m talking about…
Leahy: Well, we wouldn’t have a standing because we’re residents in Nashville.
Swain: We can find someone in that community that would have standing but I don’t know if it would go very far.
Leahy: Well, we’ll see about that. I mean a circuit court judge would have to rule on it. And it could be appealed all the way up to the state supreme court I would think. But we’ll see.
Listen to the full third hour:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 am to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Amelia Parker” by Amelia Parker. Background Photo “Knoxville Skyline” by Nathan C. Fortner. CC BY-SA 3.0.