Dishing with Dee: Deep personal loss leads to Council candidate’s conversion

By Dee Richard

The fascinating world of politics has outdone itself again. Late Thursday evening I received a phone call from a friend. His conversation started out, “Dee, did you read today’s Queens Tribune?” I said, “No! I’d been busy all day I hadn’t had time to read any of the local papers, including my own TimesLedger. Why do you ask?”

He said on the front cover of the Trib were two photos, one of Kevin Kim with the caption, “Democratic Victor.” The other photo was of Republican Dan Halloran. Its caption read, “Pagan Lord.” Kim and Halloran are the contenders for the 19th City Council seat. Those photos and captions captured the immediate attention of readers so much so they immediately turned to Page 3 to get the rest of the story.

Despite the sensational headlines the story was rather anemic. What it all boiled down to was the fact that Halloran was a believer in the tenets of an ancient and little-known religion here in the Northeast. It is Theodism and is called a pagan religion because it existed long before the birth of Jesus Christ and Christianity. I Googled Theodism. It provided me with much information on the topic. It seems its practitioners believe in pretty much the same principles as all other religions. To wit, be the best you can be, do no harm to your fellow man and leave the world a better place. There doesn’t seem to be anything sensational in that credo.

Curiosity is one of my strong suits, so I called Halloran for an exclusive interview. He invited me to join him Sunday at a fund-raising brunch held for him in Flushing at the Best Korean Barbecue on Northern Boulevard. I killed two birds with one stone. I took some photos of the event prior to the interview. We moved the interview itself over to his new campaign headquarters in what was the old Chase Bank building on the corner of Bell Boulevard and 43rd Avenue in Bayside, an impressive location for a campaign headquarters. It is also a natural for the wags, such as “You Can Always Bank on Dan,” and also after he finishes his speech it’s a perfect segway to “You Can Take it to the Bank.”

Meanwhile, during the interview, I questioned Halloran about how and why a nice Irish Roman Catholic young man educated by Jesuits ended up embracing a little-known religion. His reply was he deeply loved and respected and was devoted to his father. He could not understand why God would take away from him his beloved father who was only 52. He was so despondent that one of his mother’s Danish relatives suggested he might find solace in the religion of his mothers ancestors. It was as simple as that and that was more than 20 years ago. There has never been the whisper of a scandal connected with his choice of a religion.

What Halloran did say was he found it rather ironic his involvement with his religion was an issue, especially here in the Flushing area, the cradle of religious freedom, reaching back to the Flushing Remonstrance, which outlined our First Amendment.

In his conversation he said he found it repugnant to think in the 19th District, which is ethnically and religiously rich, that anyone could and would use someone’s faith to attack them. He also said he thought this race should be involved in debates about ideas for the betterment of our community and city. He said he will stay on-message and take the high road rather than be influenced by what other people choose to do.

He is specifically talking about preserving our community and its quality of life. It’s a well-known fact the schools for our children in northeast Queens are among the best and the local residents are not overly impressed with dirty politics.

This may well be the most important race in our area, providing we wish to preserve our way of life. Folks, get out and listen to the debates and judge the results for yourself. Make sure you get out and vote.

That’s it for this week.

I look forward to hearing from you with information on people, parties and politics or gossip.

I like receiving your voice mails at 718-767-6484, faxes at 718-746-0066 and e-mails at deerrichard@aol.com.

Don’t forget to check out the Focus on Queens page.

Till next week, Dee.

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