New York City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Queens) was one of the politicians arrested last week over an alleged plot to rig the upcoming New York City mayoral race.
But lately he’s been grabbing headlines for another reason — apparently he belongs to a pre-Christian “pagan” religion, and its leaders once punished him by tying him to a tree and flogging him.
The New York Post wrote:
The city councilman who bungled his way into federal bribery charges is also a total bonehead in his kooky heathen religion — whose members wear medieval garb, make sacrifices to multiple gods and compete in combat games.
Halloran converted in the 1980s from Catholicism to the pre-Christian Germanic religion, whose believers drink mead or whiskey from horns and dress like characters in a Renaissance fair.
He learned about their tough disciplinary code when he committed an undisclosed act against a female “thrall” — or probationary servant.
He was stripped to his waist, strapped to a tree and flogged with a belt 11 times.
It should be noted that the punishment was described as “voluntary,” though a detailed explanation wasn’t given.
A 2011 Village Voice article has been referenced in many of the stories, describing Halloran’s practices:
Halloran was no garden-variety pagan. He was the “First Atheling,” or prince, of his own Theodish tribe, called New Normandy. He had “thralls” who swore their allegiance to him. He didn’t just spend weekends reconstructing the religious activities of the pre-Christian Norse and Germanic gods—he led his flock, about 100 people at its height, in their polytheistic celebration of the gods (plural). They’d gather for “blot” (sacrifice and feast), “sumble” (“boast and toast of the gods”), and play games that, to the outside eye, looked like something from Dungeons & Dragons or a Renaissance fair.
Halloran’s religion has been a point of contention since he entered public affairs, according to the New York Times. He reportedly even wrote a piece called “I believe in God” in an effort to quiet some of the controversy, and was attacked for “pandering to monotheism.”
Among his other religious activities, Halloran reportedly once engaged in a duel where he and another man hurled 7-foot-long sapling tree spears at one another while 30 paces apart. He lost.
The New York politician could face decades in prison if convicted in the bribery scandal, but according to the New York Post, he could also face punishment from his tribe.
“If Mr. Halloran is convicted on these charges, then established Troth disciplinary procedures will be enacted, as Troth clergy are held to a very high standard,” the Connecticut-based Theodish group Halloran is affiliated with said in a statement.
“Our High Rede (Board of Directors) are aware of the issues and are carefully monitoring Mr. Halloran’s status, for the protection and integrity of our organization.”