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Thousands once turned out for Billy Graham in Fresno. Now his son is coming

The son of famed evangelist preacher Billy Graham is coming to Fresno.

And if he’s merely half as popular as his father, evangelist Franklin Graham could still attract thousands around the Valley during his visit.

Franklin Graham, known for his conservative views and blunt style of communicating, will make 10 stops in California for his “Decision America” Tour.

The Fresno stop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. May 28 at the Fresno Fairgrounds. Admission is free.

Franklin Graham’s appearance will come 17 years after Billy Graham preached in Fresno, then attracting roughly 201,000 over four days at Bulldog Stadium in 2001.

Billy Graham came to Fresno on three occasions – 1958, 1962 and 2001. He died in February at age 99.

Franklin Graham, who has almost 7 million followers on Facebook alone, heads the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the charitable organization Samaritan’s Purse.

He’s been praised for aid work in hardship zones through the charity he leads.

But Franklin Graham also has been criticized for getting involved in politics, particularly for his staunch support of President Donald Trump, as well as outspokenness against other religions, especially Islam.

He most recently made national headlines for telling his social media followers to boycott Target over its policy that allows transgender workers and customers to use the restroom or fitting room that corresponds with their gender identity.

Billy Graham, by comparison, is considered by some as the last nonpartisan evangelist.

Bryant-Jon Anteola: 559-441-6362, @Banteola_TheBee

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