Bay Area leaders remember Billy Graham

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Like he did in the rest of the world, the Reverend Billy Graham left his mark on the Bay Area. (LM Otero/AP Photo)

Like he did in the rest of the world, the Reverend Billy Graham left his mark on the Bay Area.

"When I was a student in Rome, Billy Graham had an audience," said San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, who met Graham in Rome in the late 1970s. Cordileone believes Graham's greatest legacy may be as a communicator and as a unifier.

VIDEO: USF professor discusses Billy Graham's influence on Malcom X, past presidents
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University of San Francisco Professor James Taylor discusses the tremendous influence Billy Graham had over notable figures like Malcom X and former presidents Harry Truman and Barack Obama.

"I was just struck with how he filled the chapel," he said. "This man, really, he was a convicted believer."

University of San Francisco Professer James Taylor added, "I can imagine in the 50s, Billy Graham would take a position supporting Black Lives Matter."

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Taylor believes Graham's 70 years of contributions cannot be overstated, including his role as an advisor to 12 presidents, from Harry Truman to Barack Obama. Graham was also an unwavering supporter of the civil rights movement, despite his own conservatism on other important social issues, like women's rights.

"He took sort of middling policy positions publicly, but held very conservative positions on a private level, or he would not discuss his private positions publicly in order to not offend people," explained Taylor.

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"When I heard this morning, I wept. It had an emotional impact on me," said Gary Jung, a Richmond pastor and teacher at Walnut Creek's Berean Christian High School. Jung attended Graham's Oakland crusade in 1997.

"He brought together all these denominations, and all these denomination leaders and everybody worked along side each other and prayed for the people who were there," remembered Jung.

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religionobituaryu.s. & worldchurchfamous deathcelebrity deathsbilly grahamNorth CarolinaSan Francisco
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