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


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 [email protected].
Photo “Amelia Parker” by Amelia Parker. Background Photo “Knoxville City County Building” by Brian Stansberry. CC BY 3.0.




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

  1. Big D

    It would seem to me that any elected official at the state or local level in Tennessee who does not say the words “so help me God” would be in violation of the Tennessee State Constitution and have to be removed from office. Under a) Article IX Sec. 2 of the Tennessee State Constitution “no person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this state” and b) Knoxville, TN Code of Ordnance Art. I Sec 2-4 Oaths of Office for not willing to “defend and abide by… the Constitution of the state of Tennessee” and c) Knoxville, TN Code of Ordnance Art. XIV Sec. 1405 for not completing the oath as written into Knoxville code. So will the Tennessee Star make an issue of it now?

    1. Hibernia86

      That section of the Tennessee State Constitution violates the First Amendment of the US Constitution, so it isn’t enforceable.

      It’s sad that Tennessee is trying to take away people’s freedom of religion. Hopefully they fail in this case.

      1. alfred w munselll

        Amen Is that what you learned at Jackass School of Law?

        1. Mike Gilmer

          The US Constitution bars religious tests to hold public office.

  2. Habu

    The real problem here is this person is a socialist. Do you really want to go down the path of socialism? I think not. For those that embrace socialism, I encourage you to take off the blinders, put aside your presumed hatred of capitalism and do proper research of countries that have embraced socialism. By proper research I mean to look beyond the fluff of the self appointed elites and take a good look at the average citizen in said country. Yes, you are going to hear “free medical and/or free education” among other “free” services. Look beyond the “free” label at the standard of living for the majority. You’ll find it leaves a lot to be desired. NOTHING is free, not even death.

  3. Thomas Beebe

    Note that many oaths of office include the option to “swear or affirm” their adherence to the constitution or other applicable standard. This provision was inserted as far back as the writing of the constitution to accommodate certain religious and atheistic or agnostic groups. I am far from the Socialisr Democratic group as my relatives in Knoxville will affirm. without reference to God.

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

  5. scary times

    Uhh what is the murder rate for PRO socialist communities ?

  6. […] 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. […]

  7. Brian Curtis

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

  8. Y

    William wins the internet! #PeoplePeacePlanetOverREDstateprofit

  9. 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.

  10. William R. Delzell

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

  11. 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.