He’s speaking only for himself, of course. In the op-ed pages of the New York Times. In the context of describing a meeting of influential social conservative leaders.

After two hours of deliberation, we voted on a resolution that can be summarized as follows: If neither of the two major political parties nominates an individual who pledges himself or herself to the sanctity of human life, we will join others in voting for a minor-party candidate. Those agreeing with the proposition were invited to stand. The result was almost unanimous.

The other issue discussed at length concerned the advisability of creating a third party if Democrats and Republicans do indeed abandon the sanctity of human life and other traditional family values. Though there was some support for the proposal, no consensus emerged.

Speaking personally, and not for the organization I represent or the other leaders gathered in Salt Lake City, I firmly believe that the selection of a president should begin with a recommitment to traditional moral values and beliefs. Those include the sanctity of human life, the institution of marriage, and other inviolable pro-family principles. Only after that determination is made can the acceptability of a nominee be assessed.

While he was writing this, the archbishop of St. Louis, Raymond Burke, was telling the hometown paper that he’d deny communion to Rudy over his pro-choice stand, a logical extension of the rumblings from the Vatican earlier this year about Catholic politicians whose wall between church and state is a little too high. Burke is no face in the crowd. According to the Post-Dispatch, he’s respected as one of the Church’s most brilliant legal minds and apparently authored a paper last year arguing that if a wayward Catholic politician had been formally warned not to receive communion, it would be a mortal sin for any priest or eucharistic minister to give it to them.

The more the religious establishment lines up against him, the more Rudy becomes the protest choice for conservatives who think the religious right has too much sway over the party. I’ve got to admit, for all the grief I give him, I’m starting to lean towards Rudy myself. Exit question: Is his lead solidifying?

Update: I guess this puts a bit of crimp in his “electability” appeal, huh?

If Rudy Giuliani wins the Republican nomination and a third party campaign is backed by Christian conservative leaders, 27% of Republican voters say they’d vote for the third party option rather than Giuliani. A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that a three-way race with Hillary Clinton would end up with the former First Lady getting 46% of the vote, Giuliani with 30% and the third-party option picking up 14%.