The only good news in the following story is that, as reported yesterday, New York City voters were already cynical about local politics. They should be.
Post-Christian America keeps getting weirder and weirder—or rather, more and more lame. Dan Halloran was a Republican city councilman in Queens who was arrested on Federal bribery charges last week. He apparently tried to use public funds under his control in order to get to other Republicans to get a Democrat on the Republican Mayoral ballot. Reportedly, he was caught on tape saying, “You can’t get anything without the f–king money. Money is what greases the wheels — good, bad or indifferent.”
But what makes this a strange story is that, along with Halloran’s faith in money as the path to power in politics, he also placed his faith in pagan gods. His religion is called Theodism. And while I’m sure it is a serious breach of the First Commandment, it also seems like an incredibly stupid live-action role-playing [LARPing] group. 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… The then-married defense lawyer made his way up the Theodish ladder through the years and in 1997 was asked by ‘sacred king’ Garman Lord to ditch his rank and join the splinter group Winland Rice. Halloran wanted a rare exemption from the year of servitude as a thrall that the religion required. A thrall is auctioned off to members for lucky pennies — those found face up on the ground — and then the slave goes through a boot camp studying Nordic poetry, chopping wood and serving beer. ‘The deal they were making with Dan was he would be able to skip that,’ said Ritter, 37, a steel-plant supervisor who tried to veto Halloran’s request. ‘It was a controversial move that they regret now.’”
The story includes other details, like a flogging Halloran received for an undisclosed offense against a female “thrall.”
This silliness is typical of post-Christian “remakes” of former religions. We sanitize and civilize our non-Christian religious recoveries. After all, how many “New Agers” who praise “Eastern religion” and boast of past lives actually believe their souls can and have transmigrated to and from mammals or insects?
Halloran is still “officially recognized as an Elder and Clergyman of the Troth,” but others in the group will be watching the bribery case and are claiming they will remove him from office due to their “high standards.” In the meantime, Halloran is pretending nothing has gone wrong with his political career.
“[He] sent out a press release Monday that touted the results of his ‘participatory budgeting’ elections, in which he and seven other council members let constituents vote on which projects deserve funding. The press release made no mention of the criminal proceeding the feds have brought against him or his inability to decide where the council funding will be directed.”
One might suspect that delusional religion spills over into other areas of life. I can only wonder what kind of nonsense will become common in the coming years as America drifts further away from the Christian Faith. If the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, as the Bible says, then a fountainhead of stupidity has opened up in our social and political life.