Oct 282010

Paganism is starting to gain acceptance in mainstream society.  As a measure of acceptance we are seeing milestones hit such as Patrick McCollum speaking at the World Forum of Spiritual Culture in Astana, Kazakhstan last week.  Another such milestone is the election of openly Pagan candidates to political office.   In the past few years the Pagan community has seen the election of two openly Pagan candidates.  One of them is Dan Halloran.

Councilman Dan Halloran

One year ago, Halloran, running as an Independent Republican with Tea Party backing, was in a bare knuckle fight for a seat on the New York City Council against Democrat Kevin Kim.  The race turned even uglier when Kim’s spokesman sent a press release to journalists all across the city in an attempt to use Halloran’s faith against him.  The Queen’s Tribune, heavily linked to the Democratic candidate, was particularly sensationalist in their approach.   Despite raising less money and devoting critical time to address this attack on his religion, Halloran won the election. In part two of our series, Pagans in Politics, Halloran agreed to talk with Pagan+politics about his freshman year in office.

It’s almost one year ago that you were elected into office.  Is it what you expected? Yes and No. Of course, there is always going to be certain level of expectation that once in office you will be able to immediately set about fixing things… the reality is that the system is slow to respond, difficult to master, and often times set up to discourage change.

On the flip side of the coin, there have been tremendous things that have opened up doors and opportunities that I had hoped would materialize once I entered office, and I have been able to use the power of my office to make a real difference in a lot of ways.

So on the whole, it is what I expected but I am actively at work changing things.

I understand most days are not typical, but could you give us an example of what you do during the day?

7AM up- walk dogs, shower, dress

8AM start at District office in Queens, get itinerary for meeting and hearings, review mail, sign constituent service letters, review notes, call logs and office budget items

9AM meet with Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief to set up instructions for staff for day and long term policy and legislative work

945 leave district office to drive into Manhattan.

10AM begin committee hearings at City Hall -I serve on the most committees of any freshman councilman, and second in the entire council: 1) Public Safety, 2) Fire &Criminal Justice, 3) Land Use, Public Siting, 4) Landmarks, and Maritime Uses, 5) Mental Health and Retardation Drug & Alcohol Abuse and Disability Services, and 6) Public Housing

1 PM lunch and noontime appointments with City Agencies, Lobbyists, and Constituents in City Hall offices, review legislative issues and City Council Agendas

3PM head back to district office

330 afternoon appointments with Constituents, local other elected -assembly (my district spans 4 assembly districts), state senate (2 senate districts), congressmen (2 congressional districts) and police & community boards (2 Community Boards and 3 police precincts)

5PM review calendar for next day and appointments with scheduler

6PM attend local civic and community events (my council district is composed of 7 towns, over 161,000 constituents, 24 square miles of land and 4 marinas and 14 miles of coastline).

10PM home, walk and feed the hounds, eat, start emails, review committee notes and research for next days appointments and hearings

11PM evening bedes at my home Stalli, followed by watching news and sleep

The Committees meet between two and three times a month each, the Council has stated meetings twice a month.

You appear to be having a successful and productive first year in office.  What are you most proud of accomplishing in office? Two things:

a) Raising the funding provided in my district to the highest levels in 10 years for both discretionary spending (community programs) and capital allotments (infrastructure, schools and parks).

b) Making the City more responsive to the realities of my district- we were able to stop the Paid Sick Leave and Living Wage bills which would have crippled small business, attacked property tax increases and pushed legislation to reform government transparency and funding policy…

Our council office has had such an impact that I was named one of the top 40 under 40 year old in New York State politics named by City Hall News – the political insider news service of the State of New York. We have received more network coverage than any other elected official in new York except the Mayor and the Speaker… not bad for a freshman republican in the political minority.

You still have three years left in your term.  What do you still hope to accomplish while in office? Governmental reform and transparency is my largest goal. I have introduced 5 pieces of legislation aimed at reform this legislative session and have another 14 bills pending.

Does being a part of a minority religion impact how you serve minorities in your area? Not really; I was always aware of the need to maintain balance between the public at large and the protection of minority positions… as a criminal defense attorney I had a unique insight to the problems facing our economically challenged communities and had a history of fighting for them.

Furthermore, as Flushing is the birthplace of religious freedom in America (the remonstrance of Dutch Flushing), it has always been a great source of diversity. In my council office, I have funded Orthodox Jewish, Catholic, mainstream Jewish, Lutheran, Protestant, Buddhist, and Hindu organizations and been invited and attended a broad variety of religious events. I was also able to help out many cultural groups, ranging from the Korean American Group of Greater New York, Chinese Flushing Business Association, Sacco Society (Italian American), Russian & Greek Orthodox Societies and Irish and German American groups.

During the election, your opponent attempted to use your religion as a wedge issue and it got pretty down and dirty, what has been the response towards your religion by your constituents since then? Its not an issue….Almost everyone sees what was done as a terrible campaign hit-piece. My service in the Council and advocacy for our neighborhoods has proven beyond a shadow of doubt that my religious faith is not only irrelevant to my public policy… but also a source of great personal strength for me which only inures to the benefit of my Community. I do occasionally hear that being a “Druid” explains why I am such an eco-conscious Republican.

What do your co-religionists (Theodish) think about your new position? Are you able to fulfill your religious obligations to them? Do they feel your new status brings them increased good fortune? The problem with change, is that it always disturbs the status quo. Many in the Theodish community (and in the Asatru community) still harbor issues about how my campaign handled issues related to my faith and the idea that one could serve openly in public without compromising elements of our traditions and beliefs. But they weren’t the ones running for office, and certainly, without great risk, there is no great reward.

So some do, some don’t approve of my position… the simple reality is, that we now have an elected official who represents our faith, a milestone to be sure. And that is no small feat- more so because New York City is the largest City in the country, the position I hold is nearly comparable to some state senate and congressional seats in size and scope.

In fact, one of the fundamental theological truths that our faith is centered on is that we make our own Luck and that outward manifestations of success in life and accomplishment are the only true measure of it.

You are a favorite of the local Tea Party groups, so much so they wanted to draft you into running for Congress. That they would support a Pagan/Heathen candidate runs counter to how some see Tea Party groups, as Socially Conservative Christians. How do you account for their support of you and Erin Lale [a Heathen Candidate in Nevada]? Because the media has intentionally misrepresented and distorted what the Tea Party is about and who is in it and unfortunately people believe the nonsense that the mainstream media has spouted about on the issue. There has never been any animus towards me or my faith by the Tea Party. In fact, when the attacks began it was my Tea Party supporters who were the first to jump in and fight back citing the First Amendment and freedom of religion. The reality is, that LIBERAL DEMOCRATS were the ones who shamelessly exploiting religion. Their fake claims of tolerance and diversity are belied by their actions. The DEMOCRATS faked mailers from the Catholic Church attacking my faith, they instituted media sensationalism claiming I was anti-Semitic and in a racist religion… all the while the mainstream media was their more than willing accomplices. The reality is that the Tea Party stood up for freedom while the Democratic Liberals proved that they only have room for their agenda, not for ideals.

Some Tea Party supported candidates are Socially Conservative, not just Fiscally Conservative, and wear their Christian religion on their sleeves. If Tea Party Pagans assist more Social Conservatives to get elected, and they turn out to be very anti-Pagan, how do you feel about the possibility of inadvertently supporting and electing folks who might work against our own social interests? This is a straw-man argument.

N.B. hyperbole coming…..Some Liberal Democrats are actually elitist racists who wear their contempt for God (in any form) on their sleeve and look down at the great unwashed masses as not able to think for themselves because they don’t know whats best for them and have delusions that there is a higher power that motivates them… so instead the elites will dictate how the masses live their lives and ensure that mankind is beyond its superstitious need for God(s), tax all the producers to raise up the poor…. Blah blah blah…..

You support candidates who understand that the Bill of Rights is to be respected as the supreme law of the land, that the Founders called for LIMITED government, and that each person has an obligation to work for themselves and their families and that they should not be dependent on the government (through welfare programs) nor overly indebted to the government (through taxes) either … those, are mostly, traditional Republicans (not neo-cons), Libertarians, Constitutional Conservatives, and yes, Tea Party types….

Erin Lale and yourself are Heathens. Jessica Orsini, who was re-elected as an Alderman in Missouri, is a Hellenion. Why do you think that Pagans in reconstructionist religions have been more successful in breaking into politics and seen a serious candidates than Wiccans and other Contemporary Pagans? Because the intellectual rigors of reconstruction faiths provide the discipline and education needed to be taken seriously in academic circles… which usually means mainstream higher education, in turn upper income, and more mainstream appearances and social involvement.

What advice do you have for Pagans who are considering running for political office? Be well educated, involved in your community, and desire to have your faith as ONE component of your life and not your entire identity.

Do you think the USA is ready for Pagans in higher office, say Congress? Yes- as with ANY faith, the RIGHT candidates…..ones who know what their community’s needs are, who can advocate and build coalitions…. A person’s religion isn’t the litmus test for public office it’s a component in understanding who they are and their point of view.

Hopefully in four years New York will be ready for a Heathen Congressman….

  63 Responses to “Pagans In Politics Series: Dan Halloran”

  1. I supported Dan during the election, just because he was–he said–Heathen. I wouldn’t listen to anyone who said anything negative about or questioned him, because he was–he said–Heathen and therefore he got my support. Then I looked back and saw how he threw Heathenry under the bus to get elected, and I stopped supporting him. That was reinforced after comments he made to a few other Heathens about why he “downplayed” his Heathenry.

    When Dan’s ready to be fully out and fully Heathen, and not “downplay” it in order to portray himself as a monotheist just to get elected, then I’ll consider supporting him again. Until then, fuhgeddaboudit.

    • Riiight, because we totally should support people who are religiositous.

      • Religiositous? Really? Is that even a word?

        If you’re Heathen and running for public office, you should be willing to NOT throw your Heathenry under the bus. Were I running, I know for damn sure that I’d not run away from my beliefs–I’d not only embrace them, but explain how Heathens are proud and _moral_ people who are full members of society. I’d ask critics what they have against Industriousness, Honesty, Loyalty, Hospitality, Self-Reliance, Perseverance, Discipline, Honour (real honour, not Glenn Beck’s lame-ass Christofascist version of “honour), and Courage.

        I’d also quote the Constitution at them–specifically Article VI (“no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States”) and ask “what do you care about my belief system anyway?”

        I certainly wouldn’t LIE and try to portray myself as something that I am not (that being a monotheist or–worse–a Christian).

  2. “Be well educated, involved in your community, and ***desire to have your faith as ONE component of your life*** and not your entire identity.” This. I have often said people who take one facet of their identities and put it at the forefront are imbalanced.

    Now true, if you’re a preacher, or a doctor, or a celebrity, or a politician, that’s what people will focus on. But, that preacher, doctor, celebrity or politician shouldn’t make that /their/ focus. Jimmy Carter is well-known as a former President, but we also know him well as a humble carpenter who builds houses for the needy. He’s intelligent, well-rounded, worldly, unpretentious and all-around nice guy – the kind of guy I’d love to have as a neighbor.

    In retrospect, Snooki is a reality show celebrity and currently even more famous than Carter in the ‘tween to teen girls demographic… but none of the rest of us can figure out exactly why, if we even know who she is in the first place! What does she /do/? At least Paris Hilton is famous for being a stupid, spoiled whore :P (Damnit! Now I have the South park jingle stuck in my head!)

    Thank you again Cara :)

  3. I’d like to know how Dan Halloran’s religious values have influenced his conduct in office.

    • How does his religious values influence his conduct in office?

      Obviously not at all. He natters on about being a Theodish/Tribalist but yet he screws over the tribe, the people of New York CIty, by voting down the Paid Sick Leave and Living Wage bills for the benefit of a special interest group.

      Screw the tribe. They don’t actually need a living wage. Too bad if they can’t afford housing, food and healthcare. I’ve got to pander to the interests of the few, so they’ll give me money for my political aspirations.

      If you’re a real tribalist and actually hold those values, then the needs of actual people should come first. Not the interests of the corporations and business.

      Dan is just a costumed puppet dancing the dance of corporate and business interest while they work his strings.

      • I think it’s more that Dan actually believes what he is saying then being a shill for corporate interests.

  4. I ran into Dan at Pagan Pride in Battery park so he’s out enough to show up, but personally I think he’s feeling his way on how to handle the faith issue.

  5. [...] interview series “Pagans in Politics” at the PNC blog Pagan+Politics has just posted its second installment; this time talking with New York City Councilman Dan Halloran.  This is the first interview [...]

  6. “Q: Erin Lale and yourself are Heathens. Jessica Orsini, who was re-elected as an Alderman in Missouri, is a Hellenion. Why do you think that Pagans in reconstructionist religions have been more successful in breaking into politics and seen a serious candidates than Wiccans and other Contemporary Pagans?
    A: Because the intellectual rigors of reconstruction faiths provide the discipline and education needed to be taken seriously in academic circles… which usually means mainstream higher education, in turn upper income, and more mainstream appearances and social involvement.”

    This times a million.

  7. I hadn’t heard anything before this blog, regarding what his previous career was before politics. Sounds like an average match-up for a politician.

    As to “academic circles,” what has that got to do with the average political career?

  8. I like most of what he had to say and the interview is definitely interesting and englightening. That said I have issue with this:

    “Some Liberal Democrats are actually elitist racists who wear their contempt for God (in any form) on their sleeve and look down at the great unwashed masses as not able to think for themselves because they don’t know whats best for them and have delusions that there is a higher power that motivates them… so instead the elites will dictate how the masses live their lives and ensure that mankind is beyond its superstitious need for God(s), tax all the producers to raise up the poor….”

    I’m not sure why a Heathen politician feels the need to repeat, nearly word for word, the script that Christian Fundamentalists repeat to each other and themselves on a daily basis. If he can do good for his district and the Folk while in office more power to him, I’d just rather see him doing that without repeating the talking points of a group of people who would love to see our beliefs banned.

    • Hey Mr. Context, you didn’t include the fact that Halloran said all that was a hyperbole. Nice glossing over.

      *edited by Cara due to comment policy violation.

      • And there was no way for you to point that out without resorting to name calling.

        * edited by Cara for comment policy violation

        • Well, it certainly adds to the credibility factor of your statement.

        • This is censorship. Your board etiquette is cowing into editing our comments for posterity.

          • Yes. Any time someone violates our comment policy their comment will either be altered or deleted. After that happens a few times, that person will no longer be allowed to comment on this blog project.

      • I don’t particularly care if its hyperbole. If someone is repeating word for word the dreck the Family Research Council shovels out on a daily basis and says they are a Heathen I’m going to stand up and say something.

        We have enough problems with those people that we don’t need our own repeating what they claim. It doesn’t help us.

        • Ryan,

          He was purposefully using satire and exaggeration to make the point that it is silly to judge an entire group of people by the fringe. He added “N.B. hyperbole coming” onto the front of that comment so no one would think the following paragraph should be taken as serious or literal.

          • So the only hyperbole he could use was repeating the same party line as Pat Robertson?

            I have a hard time believing that was the best or only way he could have made his point. Especially when it is a point that is a central part of the Christian Fundies’ narrative.

            • Ryan – please compare my question to his answer and you can see why he phrased it the way he did – especially the part about wearing it on your sleeve. He was reversing what Liberals commonly say about Tea Party groups. For example – Persons in Tea Party groups are called racists, sheeple, Christian Fundies out to force everyone to obey the word of God, people who only care about money and screw the poor, etc. So he reversed those common comments to show how silly it is to make statements like that.

              Does that make better sense?

              • It does not sit well with me because there are a LOT of Christian Fundies in the Tea Party and they are trying to become the dominant group in the movement. You cannot deny the ties Sharon Angle, Sarah Palin, Christine O’Donnell, and Ken Buck have to the Religious Right just to name a few.

                Catapulting the RR’s talking points to try to play down what is an element present in the Tea Party does not sit well with me. Especially when it comes from a Heathen.

                • I don’t disagree that the RR would dearly love to take over Tea Party groups. Believe me…I don’t disagree with that! This would need to be part of a larger conversation, and best done over a beer or three, but although it looks RR from the outside as to some of the candidates…it isn’t on the inside.

                  Part of why Tea Party groups have come up with such strong taboos or outright rules against mentioning social issues or religion is because there is a fair sized portion of TP supporters who are no longer in the GOP due to the RR having such a strong say. We are working to push the GOP to be far more a Party of economic issues and to greatly reduce the influence of the RR in the GOP Party. It may look like there is a ton of cooperation between the RR and Tea Party groups, and in some TP groups there is, but it’s quite bloody internally in many of them between the two. But there is agreement between the two groups on fiscal issues and so we are, as of now, extremely uneasy bedmates.

                  This isn’t readily apparent in the choice of candidates, so far, though. My hope (and this gets voiced often with many Tea party groups) is that we can find more candidates who are limited government, fiscally tight, AND support civil rights and push back against government intrusion in our daily personal lives.

    • Ryan Dan said it was hyperbole he was making a point that you cannot judge a Party by the more radical elements.

      • Except his hyperbole is repeating the same propaganda the Religious Right spits out every day. Regardless of if it is hyperbole it speaks volumes that he chose to use that particular form of hyperbole and repeat what the religious zealots in the GOP chant out on a regular basis.

        A Heathen repeating Christian Fundamentalist propaganda, regardless of it is being exaggerated or not, is something that needs to be called out.

        • I think your anger at that comment is very misplaced. He was simply reversing what people commonly say about Tea Party groups to make the point that saying things like that is stupid – which makes sense when you read the question I asked him. This has nothing to do with Christianity or the Family Research Council.

  9. Great interview! Yeah, next time Congress! You go Dan!

  10. These are basic facts that anyone who cares to do a few google searches and send a few emails can verify for themselves.

    PRIOR TO Mr. Halloran’s campaign he and his theod were disliked by many heathens in the north east.

    All but a handful of his theod have left New Normandy Theod during the campaign and since the election. The Norman theod claimed to have more than 100 members prior to his candidacy. My understanding is that fewer than a dozen of those remain.

    All but one of his thanes asked for and received release from their hold oaths. Thanes are the members of the theod that are directly oathed to the lord of the theod and perform a variety of offices that allow the theod to function. Thanes are chosen for the position by the lord of the theod because of their dedication and track record of service to the theod and its lord. It is literally a sacred trust. For even a single thane to ask for release from this position is highly significant. Nearly all of the Norman Witan (a body that council’s the lord and makes many decisions) was amongst those who jumped ship. For nearly all of a lord’s thanes to ask for release within such a short period of time causing the effective disbanding of the witan was unprecedented in the 30 years of Theodish history.

    • How is this relevant to the above interview? Are you not just airing out someone else’s dirty laundry, here, hamsocnmenni?

      • It is relevant to this particular question asked by the interviewer:

        “What do your co-religionists (Theodish) think about your new position? Are you able to fulfill your religious obligations to them? Do they feel your new status brings them increased good fortune?”

        He didn’t really answer the question and danced around it. I’m throwing some light into a dark corner.

        By their deeds, those who were in his theod didn’t think much of his new position and figured someone else could do a better job of advancing their luck. We aren’t talking about the churls. HIs thanes, his heah wita, his heah blotere, his fosterling lords all jumped ship. Some of whom had been his thanes for more than a decade; one of whom had been in Theodism since the 70′s and had been one of Garman’s thanes… This would be like the entire cabinet of a sitting US president giving their resignations all at once.

        I will admit my bias. I am a thane and a steward in a theod that views Mr. Halloran and his theod with enmity. In my opinion, Mr. Halloran has been bad for theodism. He has been particularly bad for Theodism in the north east. The relationship between Asatru and Theodism in the North East is what you might call, strained. Since until a few years ago, the only theod in the North East was New Normandy you can draw your own conclusions as to why that might be.

        Bottom line, Mr. Halloran’s reputation with those heathens who have known him for years and decades is very negative. Being a heathen (a self labeled reconstructionist heathen at that) you know very well the importance of a man’s reputation.

        What’s your bias? You have a horse in this race?

        There was a rather extensive thread on AsatruLore last year. I expect you know the injuction for use of the search function on AsatruLore.

        • What? Pagans infighting? Groups splintering off? That never happens in Paganism.

          I don’t know why the groups splintered, but one of the weaknesses in modern Paganism is that we splinter and fight one another at the drop of a hat. We are indiscriminate cannibals.

          We claim to non-dogmatic faiths, but our actions undermine our words. When someone steps, even in a small way, outside what we think they should believe or how they live their faith, we fight. We splinter into smaller and smaller groups. We push them aside and call them “other.”

          We are our own worst enemies. We don’t need Christians to tear us down because we are busy doing it to each other. It’s hard enough for Pagans to land premium jobs, get elected to office, and be taken seriously in mainstream society – but our community then makes it harder by engaging in all this personal infighting on the internet where anyone else can read it and use it.

          We are too small and too vulnerable to continue behaving like this.

          • I agree, the personal infighting on the internet is a waste of time and energy. Problem is, this goes far beyond the internet, out into the community and well into the last decade.

            The splintering of New Normandy wasn’t a drop of a hat issue. This was the result of major theological issues. It wasn’t some petty thing, it was a big deal.

            My problem with Dan isn’t a drop of a hat issue. This is more than a decade of him being the direct cause of problems for Theodsmen in the north east. Don’t take my word for it though. Send an email to any of the prominent Asatru in the north east. They are a google search away.

            I’m just pointing out that you, Cara, didn’t do your homework. You asked him whether his co-religionists thought he was worthy of the position of sacral lord. If you ask his co-religionists what they think the answer might be different. Vastly different.

            • My “homework” was to conduct the interview. This is an interview, not an article.

              major theological issues – This speaks to my comment about how the talk within Paganism that we are non-dogmatic is undermined by our reactions to when someone expresses a different belief or interpretation of belief. I have no problem with people choosing to gather or not gather in groups according to theology, but when we fight over theology and ‘war’ with one another over it – we are being dogmatic. Why should differences of opinion over belief cause such anger and strife? It doesn’t hurt me one bit if someone is a neo-Platonist, a Stoic, etc.

              Also, no thank you – I have no desire to email people looking for gossip. I have no more desire to do that than I have to email people involved in the 500,000 other Pagan pissing matches that have occurred. Heh…I see too many of these pissing matches first hand on the lists I’m on. I don’t need to go looking for more.

              • Theodism is dogmatic.

              • I understand about not wanting to spread gossip. There is plenty of that out there. I’m talking about something deeper than that though. I’m talking about someone that has created those divisions through his own actions over a period of two decades. That’s different than he said-she said.

                My question remains: If a man is almost universally reviled in the community that he claims to be a part of, is he not vulnerable to attack from hid political opponents on that mark and is he then perhaps a liability and not an asset?

                • My position? ANY Pagan who achieves elected office or another position of responsibilty, doesn’t do something illegal or wildly bizarre in carrying the duties of that office, and garners the respect of his/her constituents is a HUGE asset to the entire Pagan community. That’s what I’m looking at – the bigger picture of how this affects our acceptance in the mainstream and furthers our civil rights – not if the Pagan is question is considered a theological heretic within a very small segment of our community.

                  Dan Halloran, Jessica Orsini, and Erin Lale (although she is a candidate, she is doing well in polling and being taken seriously) are assets to our community for smoothing the path for others to walk more easily. I don’t need to agree with them religiously in order to honor them for that.

                  • I submit that anyone who would throw his Heathenry under the bus for the sake of personal gain is not a Heathen at all.

          • “We claim to non-dogmatic faiths, but our actions undermine our words. When someone steps, even in a small way, outside what we think they should believe or how they live their faith, we fight. We splinter into smaller and smaller groups. We push them aside and call them “other.””

            I just wanted to comment on this particular item. One things that many who are not Theodish do not understand about Theodism is that many of the standard assumptions about basic pagan theology don’t apply.

            Theodism has orthodoxy to a degree. Let me qualify that to a degree. Each theod has its own custom or thew that varies slightly from theod to theod. It is is by and far, relatively uniform from theod to theod. We all agree on the importance of hierarchal structure, hold oaths, sacral leadership the enternal nature of the gods and a great deal more than that. Our orthodoxy is dynamic in that when a new piece of evidence is uncovered that shows us that we were in error about a particular subject, we alter or ideals to fit that new evidence.

            To a far greater degree we are orthopraxic. There are right ways of doing things in Theodism and in many instances, Theodish aetts agree on what these right things are. We all bow or kneel when making offerings, we all use certain ritual tools prepared in specific ways etc.

            When someone in Theodism starts making public statements that are in conflict with the thew of their tribe this creates a lot of issues. This is especially the case when that person’s most sacred duty is to uphold and maintain the proper observance of thew. The result for the theod and its members could be disastrous. I know many pagans don’t believe in vengeful gods but Theodsmen most certainly do.

            • That is fascinating and I appreciate your expanding on this. I had read an article on Patheos – damn, I can’t find it and Patheos won’t let me click that far back – that talked about how it was inevitable that we end up with a more “set” theology, perhaps some type of scripture. I don’t entirely see this as a bad thing, as long as it is group consensus (maybe with a few leaders driving it) that drives its creation and not imposed by authoritarianism. And that this consensus is guided by the gods that group honors.

              • That sounds like a fascinating article, and I’d be interested in reading it if you ever come across it again.

                “I don’t entirely see this as a bad thing, as long as it is group consensus (maybe with a few leaders driving it) that drives its creation and not imposed by authoritarianism. And that this consensus is guided by the gods that group honors.”

                I would say that any kind of orthodoxy must be based on the traditions and truths of the religion, as opposed to the whims of either the leadership or the group, which is probably similar enough in spirit to what you say.

        • You’re right what you say about the strain between Theodism and NE Asatru and you’re right that most of the blame for that can be laid at the feet of Mr. Halloran. Fortunately it has gotten a lot better over the last couple of years and most of the credit for that improvement goes to Mr. Groenwald IMO.

          Mark Andersen

          • I believe that should be “Mr. Groenewold,” but yes: he’s a hell of a guy, and someone that Theodism can be proud of.

          • Mark, I agree. Mr Groenewold rocks! (And I had to look at Nick’s comment to make sure I got the spelling correct. Then again, I have spelled my own name wrong, so…

  11. Um … “Jessica Orsini, who was re-elected as an Alderman in Missouri, is a Hellenion.” Sometimes I wish I had a magic button that would let me fix all grammar that doesn’t make sense everywhere.

    With that out of the way, interesting interview — and extremely educating. The more I learn about the Tea Party here on P+P, the more I realize which points we have in common and where we diverge.

    While I may never follow a Tea Party candidate or anyone who believes along those lines, interviews like these are helping me evaluate critically the dehumanization happening on my own side of the media, which is in many cases unethical. However, since starting library school (and reading some interesting things about source bias and mental programming, some for class and some professor-recommended), I’ve started to realize that neither side of the media blitz really understands its role in the creation of hyper-factionalism in our digital world, but I don’t think they’re open to a schooling in it.

    Finally, I would like to say that liberal “contempt for God” Halloran mentioned has never made my life as bad as it became when I was in middle school and the neighbors’ daughter revealed to the school that my family wasn’t Christian. When conservatives bite, it hurts, and everything I have said about growing up in Missouri has made most people I know never, ever want to go there.

    • Did I just hear someone volunteer to be a proof reader on P+p? Yes, yes, I believe I did.

      Jason…put her to work!

      • Maybe after I finish grad school. I really should be doing prep work for a literature review draft or crafting a grocery shopping list or offering incense to Hephaistos or something at the moment instead of procrastinating.

  12. The more I read about Theodism (and I haven’t researched it because it holds no attraction to me personally), the more it sounds like theological warlordism — in a way. Like the people in such arrangements will soon be setting up a private and isolated compound like that one on several square miles of Texas that got raided a while back for problems with underage girls getting married off against their will — or not depending on who has the investigators’ ear.

    It worries me.

    • I’d say you don’t know much about Theodism, then, and are unlikely to learn; we tend not to take the time to discuss the finer points with folks who approach it with clear prejudice beforehand.

    • You really don’t know anything about Theodism, then.

      I myself am not a Theodswoman, but I have taken the time to understand it and have actually come to know what it’s about. Perhaps you should actually take the time to do some research before going off half-cocked and making baseless assumptions.

    • It really isn’t theological warlordism. Yes, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it isn’t an isolationist cult like you describe.

      For starters every different Theod has a distinct personality, like any family or tribe, it starts off with some agreed upon rules and then traditions grow with the tribe and change and it’s a living, organic thing. Each Theod develops it’s own culture, like a school or a church or a corporate office. If one goes bad, it should not be taken as a reflection on the religion as a whole. Wiccan Covens go bad, Christian Churches do too, any religious group can fall too far into “us-vs-them” and “cult of personality” thinking.

      If you’re worried, you should read up on it more and then get to know some different Theodish folks, make friends, and ask them lots of questions.

      • Out of curiosity, where are some resources that one could get a better picture on Theodism?

        • I’ve forwarded this to Nick. Hopefully he can assist you.

        • Hi Sarenth,

          For starters, there are the websites of the two Theodish groups that I think are the most representative of the tradition: Axenthof Thiad (www.axenthof.org) and Sweartfenn Theod (http://homepage.mac.com/mossmuncher/Sweartfenn_Theod/).

          I’d also be happy to answer whatever questions you might have, perhaps over email.

          I’m at work right now, so that’s all I can give you at the moment, but hopefully it’s enough to answer some questions.

  13. Just to add one point of factual clarification, Dan Halloran’s claim that the Tea Party is not typically Christian has been pretty decisively refuted by solid polling data. Maybe it’s true in New York, but it’s not true nationally. As it happens, most people who identify themselves with the Tea Party adopt many positions typically associated with Christian conservatism and the religious right, and are more likely even than the average evangelical to describe the U.S. as “a Christian nation”.


    • I’m glad you mentioned this.

      I think “Mr Halloran” really does believe what he says about the Tea Party. I think he’s projecting his own view of the tea party on the whole, when it’s not really an accurate reflection.

      I think the Tea party is poisoned with conservative Christian ideology and that makes me sad, because it started off pretty cool. Then again, I’m glad to see Pagans and Heathens sticking with it for now, because who-knows? Maybe the rational people will win out and turn the Tea Party back around.

      And I would like to see an end to the pairing of social conservatism with fiscal conservatism. There are so many socially liberal people who lean towards a more conservative financial thinking and they end up having to chose, all the time, between their views on social issues and their fiscal views.

      I think the Tea party could have been the group to change this, but once they began gaining power, the Christian Right latched onto them like a one of the Brain Slugs from Futurama. I would love to see them get rid of that parasite.

  14. [...] I don’t think Chu will be getting far with this lawsuit. For one, a judge has already vindicated Halloran’s behavior in that conflict, and secondly, Chu even admitted to the charges against him in a disciplinary hearing. When asked for comment, Halloran called Chu a “nut job”, and that the “basis of the claim is ridiculous.” For more on Dan Halloran, check out the recent Pagan+Politics interview. [...]

  15. Well I’ll be… ya drop out of mainstream Heathenry for awhile and, while searching for something else, come to find out that one of (if not THE) luminaries of your faith has continued to do well (as if I’d expect anything else of Dan).

    I had the great fortune to meet Dan at a Heathen gathering some years ago, and over two days, both he and his man Lou had a tremendous impact on my faith. They didn’t instruct, they didn’t badger; they merely said “this is what our particular branch of the tree is.” It just happened that most of what they described was what I’d been missing to that point, and they opened up a whole new world for me. Years later, I had the opportunity, through a series of events and organizations, to join his Normannii folk, an opportunity, sadly, I had to decline due to the distances involved. Still, Dan Halloran has influence even down here in Kentucky, and to that end I plan on setting out a good beer and reading to my boy from the book Dan gifted me this weekend, all to the great health of he and his.

    • Mike,
      Knowing both Dan and Lou I can understand that a positive impact was made. The thing is time changes all things. For the record Lou is one of the Thanes who left Normandy. You should reach out and ask him why. You are your own man and most certainly entitled to you opinion. I would just caution you on basing it on a person who no longer exists. The honorable man that Dan was thought to be by his former folk does not exist. They found this out the hard way. To some at the cost of everything they owned. These men and woman haven’t given up on their beliefs in Theodism just on the man who failed to live up to his own teachings. It is a simple matter to find these things out if someone wishes to. All of the former members of Normandy are out their on Facebook. These people loved Normandy and all it stood for. They all left with broken hearts because of broken oaths. People want to argue in public formum whether or not Dan is a good man. It surprises me no one has yet thought to go speak to the men and woman who left. Dan claimed 100 people at one point. Including himself at last count he has 9. For those who think it was the election. They are wrong.

  16. [...] The NYT piece runs down Halloran’s career so far, including his election as an out Theodsman, run-ins with parking enforcement, and recent bankruptcy and divorce proceedings. Halloran now says that his goal “was never to make headlines or anger people,” but that damage may already be done, and he could be forced to give up the names of those who came to him when he testifies. For more on Dan Halloran, check out this recent Pagan+Politics interview. [...]

  17. [...] saying so. I was thrilled a Heathen had been elected, but I didn’t like him. His interview on Pagan+Politics, with his implication that Wiccans were poor and uneducated, incensed me. Thrasher’s [...]