Last week, Councilman-elect Dan Halloran (R-Bayside) narrowly defeated a Democratic candidate in one of the nation's most liberal cities. Now comes the hard part: explaining his religious beliefs to the press. For the past two decades, the cop-turned-lawyer has been a devout believer in Theodism, a pre-Christian faith rooted in Celtic and Germanic tribal religions. "Understanding my theology is a little difficult for mainstreamers," admits Halloran, who serves as the "First Atheling," or king, of a local tribe of 120 followers called New Normandy.

The incoming Councilman tells the Post that his faith is a "cousin religion" to Hinduism, and downplays the role of "humane" animal sacrifices as nothing more than "processing food in a specific way." "If a Christian goes to a Greek Orthodox lamb roast for Easter, there is nothing considered wrong with that. If a Jewish person decides to keep kosher, [it's similar]," he said. "To say 'animal sacrifice' makes it sound like you're killing an animal willy-nilly."

That analogy — which supporters of his Democratic rival tried to use against him in the days before the election
— rankled New York's first Greek-American elected official, Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D-Queens). “If Dan Halloran feels the need to explain his religious beliefs to the public, that’s his business. In doing so, he should not mischaracterize the faith of thousands of his new constituents,” said Gianaris. "Easter lamb roasts have absolutely nothing to do with the religious animal blood sacrifices practiced by Dan Halloran. Dan Halloran must immediately apologize to the Greek Orthodox community for his offensive comments as should anyone who is associated with him.”

For his part, Halloran says he has talked about his faith enough. "We should not be worrying about candidates' religions," he said. "The fact that my religious beliefs are not mainstream or are not part of what popular culture would consider the norm should have no bearing on my issues."