By Nathan Duke
Queens Republicans said they did not believe City Council hopeful Dan Halloran’s adherence to a pagan religion would have any affect on the Auburndale attorney’s bid to fend off Democrat Kevin Kim in the race to replace Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside).
Halloran, a partner at Long Island firm Palmieri, Castiglione & Halloran and chairman of the state Republican Liberty Caucus, has been endorsed by the Queens County Republican Party and will face off Nov .3 against Kim, who defeated his five opponents in the Sept. 15 Democratic primary with 30 percent of the vote.
But borough Republicans criticized the portrayal of Halloran’s religion in a Queens Tribune article released shortly after the primary.
“I think it’s particularly repugnant to have a religious test,” said Queens County GOP Vice Chairman Vince Tabone, who is also the spokesman for Halloran’s campaign. “We saw people trying to do that with [President Barack] Obama and Mitt Romney. Flushing is a birthplace of religious freedom. It’s part of Queens’ heritage. It’s a community where Protestants and Catholics and Sikhs live side by side.”
In the front page headline, Halloran was referred to as a “pagan lord.”
The Council contender practices Theodism, a pre-Christian pagan religion. Halloran goes by the name “Dan O’Halloran” on the Web site New Normandy, which explains the practices of Theodism. On the site, Halloran is referred to as an “atheling,” or king.
“We believe in and honor the Gods and Goddesses of the North, spirits of the land and the memories of our ancestors,” the New Normandy site says.
On the site, Halloran further explains the religion as “a cultural, religious and martial organization; dedicated to reviving the folkways of the Norman peoples of Northern Europe.”
Tabone said Halloran was raised in an Irish Catholic household and that his religion would have no bearing on the Council race.
“I don’t think it will have much resonance,” he said. “It won’t amount to a hill of beans. People in the community are concerned with their quality of life and the high unemployment rate. We have good schools that could be improved.”
State Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) said he thought Halloran’s religion was not relevant to the District 19 race.
“Queens has every conceivable religion on the face of the Earth and as long as they are honorable toward their basic goals, then that’s all anyone should be concerned about,” he said. “Our Constitution provides freedom of religion and as long as they don’t run counter to the law of the land, then it’s not something that should be at all political. Anybody who makes it political is suspect. I’d rather someone have a religion — even if it’s not a mainstream religion — than their being atheist.”
Halloran has raised a total $16,340, according to city campaign finance records. Most of the contributions to his campaign are from within the district and come from a variety of sources, including teachers, firefighters and attorneys as well as Queens Republicans such as Padavan, Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Rockaway Beach), Bart Haggerty and Phil Ragusa, the county party’s chairman.
The district covers Bayside, Auburndale, Little Neck, Douglaston, Whitestone, College Point, Malba and East Flushing.
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.