"Where do our rights come from? Most Americans believe they come from God," he says in a conference room overlooking Times Square in the office of Giuliani Partners, the consulting firm he founded. "I mean the really basic ones: the idea that all people are created equal, that human rights are enormously important, that people should select their own leaders. And they're not just ours. They've been put there for everyone."
Rooting for the Catholics
Giuliani's strong sense of self and of his role in the world was honed early. Living in Brooklyn just blocks from the Dodgers' Ebbets Field, 5-year-old Rudy was sent out to play wearing the uniform of the archrival Yankees. Neighborhood kids threw him in the mud and started to put a rope around his neck before his grandmother chased them away. "I'm a Yankee fan, and I'm going to stay a Yankee fan," he's quoted in Wayne Barrett's biography "Rudy!" as saying about the incident. "I'm not going to give up my religion. You're not going to change me."
Giuliani credits his father with instilling a deep respect for his Catholic upbringing. Harold Giuliani did time in Sing Sing state prison, pleading guilty to robbing a milkman on the Upper East Side in 1934. He later worked in a Brooklyn bar owned by a brother-in-law who reputedly was a mob-connected loan shark, according to the Barrett biography. But Rudy's father moved his family to Long Island, to Garden City, to keep his son away from such connections. There, the boy spent much time with an extended family of local police officers and firefighters. He went to a Catholic elementary school and was chosen to attend Brooklyn's elite Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School, to which he commuted from Long Island.