Lost today amidst the news that New York State Senator Malcolm Smith, the state's first black senate leader, had been arrested on bribery charges was the fact that his Republican co-conspirator, Dan Halloran, is the first-ever open pagan to hold elected office in the United States, as Steven Thrasher entertainingly documented in a 2011 Village Voice article:
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.
As Thrasher went on to recount, Halloran had attempted to minimize, and even hide, his pagan beliefs, without ever quite refuting them, during the election. He took down the New Normandy website, on which you used to be able to find photos of Halloran swilling mead from horns and dressing in "medieval garb," and wrote a column called "I believe in God." One pagan described his campaign as "[p]andering to monotheism." "There is not a man who knows him well, not a one, who doesn't hate his guts now," said another.
And now, having forsaken the gods whose good fortune gave him his first success, he finds himself subject to federal bribery charges for attempting to help Smith land the Republican nomination for New York City mayor.
And so we are moved to recite an epic poem in his honor: The Saga of Dan Halloran.
Herein Is Told How Dan Halloran, First Atheling of Theodish New Normandy, Was Arrested in a Bribery Probe
There was a man named Dan whose surname was Halloran; he was the son of a great deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, and he dwelt in Queens. He was a mighty chief, and the First Atheling of New Normandy, a Theodish tribe of pagans living on Long Island, and had many thralls.
This was in the days when the Tea Party held sway over much of the land, and Dan Halloran allied himself with their number, and was elected to the City Council, the Alþingi of New York, representing the parties of the Libertarians, and the Republicans and the Conservatives, and was celebrated by many as the first heathen to represent his people in elected office. But it was said that Dan Halloran had forsaken his pagan beliefs, and taken down the website of his people, and betrayed them, in the name of power.
Now it came to pass, the chronicler Preet Bharara, U.S. attorney, tells us, that Dan Halloran was approached by Malcolm Smith, a powerful Senator in the State of New York, who also dwelt in Queens, and who was once leader of the Senate entire. And Malcolm Smith told Dan Halloran that he wished to stand for election of Mayor of New York, as a Republican. And because Malcolm Smith had previously sworn his oath to the Democrats, he needed Dan Halloran's aid, for three of the five borough Republican Party Chieftains must needs pledge him their support. And Malcolm Smith said to Dan Halloran, will you help me bribe these leaders, and Dan Halloran replied, yes.
After this Dan Halloran, the First Atheling of Theodish New Normandy, spoke with a great buyer and seller of lands, and through this man agreed upon payments to be conveyed in the borough Party Chieftains in the guise of various contracts. But this man was not what he seemed, and was rather an agent of the F.B.I., and recorded these conversations, and conversations with the Senator Malcolm Smith.
And Dan Halloran was seized by agents of the government. And Malcolm Smith, too. As for the Theodish of New Normandy, who had been forsaken by their Atheling, and had their website removed, little is known.
Here ends the saga of Dan Halloran, First Atheling of Theodish New Normandy.