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Mariah Parker was recently elected to the Athens-Clarke County Commission in Georgia. It was a nail-biter of a race, too, with the 26-year-old Parker winning by just 13 votes.

When she was sworn in this week, she didn’t bother taking her oath on the Bible. With her right hand clenched in a fist in the air, she placed her left hand on a copy of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, held in place by her mother.

It doesn’t get more bad-ass than that, at least during a county commissioner’s oath of office.

I have no clue what Parker’s religious beliefs are, but I love that she swore upon a book that had special significance for her. Even most Christians who take an oath, I suspect, place their hand on the Bible out of tradition more than anything else. They may love Jesus, but if you ask them their favorite book, “The Bible” isn’t the first one that comes to mind.

Reader Rachel, who brought this story to my attention, said that there may be criticism that The Autobiography of Malcolm X is too extreme, “but is it truly any more extreme than a supposed ‘holy book’ that calls for the genocide of outsiders and condemns nonbelievers to eternal torture?” It’s a great point.

Parker, by the way, is getting her Ph.D. in linguistics. She also dropped her first rap album earlier this year under the name Linqua Franqa.

So to answer your question, no. You will never be this cool.

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Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.