Dan Halloran, the Republican candidate for City Council facing primary winner Kevin Kim in the 19th District, already has a leadership role in a vast community that very few people know about – or understand. Halloran is the “First Atheling,” or King, of Normandy, a branch of the Theod faith of pre-Christian Heathen religions assembled in the Greater New York area. A group of dedicated fellow pagans swear their allegiance to him through oaths of fidelity, allowing luck from a series of ancient gods – specifically the “Norse” or “Germanic” gods Odin, Tyr and Freyr – to pass through the King to his kinsmen … When asked Wednesday about his faith, Halloran was uneasy. “I am not comfortable with injecting my religion into my politics,” he said. “I grew up born and raised Roman Catholic. I went to Jesuit schools. Most of my life has been in traditional Irish household.” He added, “I don’t think any of this is really relevant to the City Council race. It’s like talking about what church you pray at. That you understand the divine is the most important part.”
Since being outed by the paper his tribe’s web site has been taken down, but a quick Google search will show you that Halloran, who works as a lawyer in New York City, has a long and prominent history within Theodism and the modern Pagan/Heathen community as well. Will this outing hurt him in the race or within his party? So far the local Republican party seems to have his back.
“Halloran explained that Queens GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa and the GOP executive committee were aware of his faith. Ragusa said Wednesday that Halloran’s religion is not an issue. “If a person performs and does what he has to do for his district, then he will be a welcome breath of fresh air,” Ragusa said.”
But will that situation last? The Queens Tribune’s sensationalist front-page story seems designed to make his faith an issue in this race, and while many cosmopolitan New Yorkers may not blink an eye at Heathen candidates within the party there’s always the chance this story could make some higher-ups nervous. It also remains to be seen if local Democrats will want to use Halloran’s faith as a wedge issue to get Kim elected (and you can be sure I’ll hold their feet to the fire if they do).
As for Halloran as a candidate, he seems to have done well with his campaign so-far. He’s secured the endorsements of the Republican, Libertarian, Independence, and Conservative parties, and will appear on four uncontested ballot lines as a consequence. He was also endorsed by the NYC District Council of Carpenters.
On the issues Halloran seems rather against the Democratic Party’s health care reform platform, raging against the evils of “socialized medicine” at tea-parties. He’s also pro school vouchers, term limits, guns, and tax-cuts. In short, he seems for the most part to be a rather typical libertarian-leaning fiscal conservative. No word on what his stances are on various social issues, but I’m fairly certain he’s for minority faiths receiving equal treatment under the law. If you want to keep track of Dan Halloran, he has a Twitter feed. You can also be sure I’ll be keeping track of this race and giving you updates as November approaches.
ADDENDUM: It seems that Democrat Kevin Kim’s spokesman sent a copy of the Queens Tribune article to journalists all across the city in an attempt to use Halloran’s faith against him.
“Reporters around the city received an e-mail with a pdf of the article attached — from Democratic rival Kevin Kim’s new spokesman … Halloran’s supporters dismissed the story as a “hit” by the Tribune, which has several links to Kim.”
The Queens Tribune, which seems to think being a Pagan is a splashy front-page issue, has a sister company that does consulting and printing work for Kim’s campaign. Though they insist there is an editorial firewall between the companies, it makes the whole thing seem rather suspect. I await official comment from Kevin Kim on this issue, does he believe that being a Pagan should factor into this race? I have e-mailed Kevin Kim’s campaign and await a response.