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WATCH: Church holds service themed after 2 Chainz’s Pink Trap House

Atlanta’s most talked-about temporary landmark just made its way back into the spotlight — on the sanctuary stage of the dReam Center Church of Atlanta, that is.

>> 2 Chainz creates Atlanta's latest landmark

In an effort to “Make the Church Relevant Again,” church leaders took a marketing tip from Atlanta-based hip-hop star 2 Chainz himself and decorated their sanctuary with a miniature Pink Trap House, a pink stove and a pink toy car.

>> 2 Chainz forced to postpone tour after injury

The church shared its one-of-a-kind service led by Bishop William Murphy on Facebook Live and as of Monday morning, the post has garnered nearly 30,000 views.

>> Watch the clip here

Viewers and attendees alike lauded Bishop’s and the dReam Center Church’s unique way of attracting the youth for its Sunday service.

And 2 Chainz himself took to Instagram to praise the service, writing, “I think it’s dope to be used by God in different ways.”

>> See the post here

2 Chainz’ Pink Trap House, a flipped home at 1530 Howell Mill painted pink to mimic his album’s cover art, was a hot Instagram spot last month.

>> 2 Chainz Pink Trap House offers free HIV testing

The artist, currently performing in a pink wheelchair after breaking his leg on tour, initially used the venue to host a listening party to promote his project with actress and writer Issa Rae, “Pretty Girls Like Trap Music.” 

>> On AJC.com: Atlanta's newest landmark takes social media by storm thanks to 2 Chainz

But the house was also used as a site for free HIV testing and for a “Trap Church” event hosted by Street Groomers, a neighborhood watch group and local faith leaders such as Michael Wortham, minister of young adults at Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church.

>> Read more trending news

While the Pink Trap House lease was up July 7, it seems marketing genius 2 Chainz is still making an impact around town.

Muslim Americans are more accepting of homosexuality than white evangelicals, Pew research says

Ten years ago, only 27 percent of Muslims in the United States said homosexuality should be accepted by society, and 61 percent said same-sex relationships should be discouraged.

>> Read more trending news 

But according to a Pew Research Center report released last week, the majority of Muslim Americans today -- 52 percent -- are now accepting of homosexuality, following a trend found in other American faith groups.

Even the Muslims who said religion is “very important” in their lives have become 28 points more accepting since 2007.

Compared to other American faith groups, Muslim Americans are more accepting of homosexuality than white evangelicals (34 percent) and black Protestants (50 percent), but are not as accepting as white mainline Protestants (76 percent) and Catholics (66 percent).

» RELATED: Muslims in America, by the numbers 

Young Muslim Americans (Muslim millennials) also tend to be more accepting of homosexuality. Between 2007 and 2017, the percentage of Muslim millennials in America that said homosexuality should be accepted by society jumped from 33 percent to 60 percent.

The Pew report, which includes data from more than 1,000 adult U.S. Muslims, also found the majority of Muslim Americans continue to identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party (66 percent) and 39 percent describe themselves as politically moderate.

» RELATED: 5 inspiring quotes from iconic Muslim women to celebrate #MuslimWomensDay 

Forty-four percent of Muslims eligible to vote cast ballots in last year's presidential election, compared to 37 percent in 2007. Those numbers on Muslim voting are compared to 60 percent of eligible voters overall who cast ballots in 2016.

Muslims overwhelmingly backed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who drew 78 percent of their vote, compared to 8 percent for Trump.

» RELATED: Mahershala Ali makes history as first Muslim to win an Academy Award 

Alarmed by the anti-Muslim rhetoric during the 2016 campaign, Muslim American leaders made an unprecedented push to register voters in mosques and at community events, leading to higher overall turnout.

Pew researchers estimate the number of U.S. Muslims has been growing by 100,000 each year, reaching 3.35 million, or 1 percent of the American population.

» RELATED: Georgia did not ‘ban Muslim culture,’ as fake-news websites claimed 

By 2050, they estimate Islam will supplant Judaism as the second-most popular religion in the U.S., with Muslims making up 2.1 percent of the future population.

Just over half of U.S. Muslims identify as Sunni, while 16 percent identify as Shiite. Nearly six in 10 adult American Muslims were born outside the U.S.

The largest share of immigrants come from South Asian countries such as Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, while others have come from Iraq, Iran, sub-Saharan Africa and Europe.

» RELATED: Photos of famous Muslim Americans

American-born blacks make up about 13 percent of all Muslims in America, but their share is shrinking. Overall, eight in 10 are U.S. citizens, according to the survey.

Eight in 10 American Muslims also said they were concerned about Islamic extremism, and more than 70 percent said they were very or somewhat concerned about Islamic extremism in the U.S.

However, three of 10 said that most of those arrested recently on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack had been tricked by law enforcement authorities and did not represent a real threat.

Read the full Pew Research Center report at Pewforum.org.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Megachurch pastors Joel and Victoria Osteen criticized for throwing ‘Hook ‘Em’ hand sign

Thousands of students graduated this past weekend from the University of Texas at Austin, flooding social media with photos of proud new alumni and their families.

>> Read more trending news 

For most parents, documenting the occasion with a photo means throwing up the “Hook ’em Horns” hand sign, too, usually without much fuss. But when your parents are the first couple of televangelism, a spirited hand gesture can take on a whole other meaning. 

>> Photos: Longhorns arriving for UT graduation ceremony May 20 

Joel Osteen and his wife, Victoria, draw thousands every week to their massive Lakewood Church in Houston, and millions tune in from across the globe to watch. The pair also head a massive multi-million dollar empire stemming from book deals and tours. Their son, Jonathan, recently graduated from UT, and he posed with each of his parents for a pretty common photo taken during commencement weekend: the graduate and his mom and dad both making the “Hook ’em Horns” hand sign. 

Filet-O-Fish sales surge at McDonald's during Lent

Every March, McDonald’s sees a surge in sales of its Filet-O-Fish sandwiches.

According to a company spokesman, it’s primarily because of Lent.

Nearly 25 percent of the sandwiches sold during the year are sold during Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday and runs for 40 days, ending just before Easter Sunday.

>> Read more trending stories  

The dish’s existence dates back to the 1960s, when Cincinnati franchise owner Lou Groen noticed a drop in sales on Fridays when his Roman Catholic customers were observing Lent. 

Groen convinced the food chain to launch a whitefish sandwich as an alternative menu item to its popular burgers.

>> Related: What is Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, and how do we celebrate? 

Since its inception, the wild-caught Alaska pollock fish sandwiches have become a McDonald’s staple.

Social media users are jokingly taking to Twitter to express their excitement for “Filet-O-Fish Season,” some celebrating the discounts that many McDonald's restaurants offer on the sandwich on Fridays during Lent. 

Take a look:

Commence Filet-O-Fish season. #Lent— Caitlin N. (@catealli_15) March 1, 2017

It's Ash Wednesday. Which means it's gonna be lent fridays and Filet O Fish are gonna be sold for $1.59 again pic.twitter.com/XXghnR6AQT— HvyMtlLvr (@Artenomics) March 1, 2017

The filet-o-fish is truly a staple in the Catholic community during Lent.— Ally (@allyportz11) February 27, 2017

Muslim man receives heartwarming note from neighbors after Trump's inauguration

A heartfelt letter left on the door of a Muslim man's Ohio home after President Donald Trump's inauguration is going viral.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

According to WCPO, Abubaker Amri, who immigrated to the United States from Libya nearly 40 years ago, was concerned about some of Trump's comments on the campaign trail. But on Friday, a surprising letter note from his neighbors in Cincinnati lifted his spirits.

>> Read more trending stories

"Dear Neighbors," the note read. "Today begins a new stage for our country. No matter what happens, please know there are still a lot of people who will fight for your right to practice your religion, to continue your lives without discrimination. You are welcome in our neighborhood and if you need anything – please knock on our door."

Amri's niece, Hend Amry, shared a photo of the letter on Twitter, where it quickly went viral. Her post was retweeted more than 140,000 times and "liked" more than 415,000 times by Sunday morning.

>> See the post here

After the Trump inauguration, some neighbors left this letter on my uncle's door in Cincinnati, Ohio. pic.twitter.com/jnlXewv7ej— Hend Amry (@LibyaLiberty) January 21, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

"There's no way I could express my feelings when I got that note," Amri told WCPO, calling it "the best, best, best experience."

Read more here.

Eddie Long death: Memorial service set for controversial megachurch pastor

The metro Atlanta megachurch led by Bishop Eddie L. Long has set a date for a memorial service for the controversial pastor. 

New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia, will hold services for Long at 11 a.m. Jan. 25, Elder Craig Heath said during an early morning international prayer call. Long died Sunday at age 63.

>> PHOTOS: Bishop Eddie Long through the years

The church had said Sunday that an email would be sent to members with further details.

Heath read from the New Birth in a statement Sunday that Long "is now spiritually healed and home with the Lord.”

>> PHOTOS: Notable deaths 2017

“Bishop Long, senior pastor of New Birth, transitioned from this life early Sunday morning after a gallant private fight with an aggressive form of cancer,” the statement said.

Leaders on the prayer call, which opened and closed with music, at times seemed emotional as they talked about how Long had always “sowed seeds” in them and in others. Heath said the service would celebrate his life, sacrifice and service.

>> Controversial Atlanta megachurch Bishop Eddie Long has died, church says

He acknowledged that members were still is the midst of working out their thoughts and feelings considering the life and legacy of Long.

Also on the call was Elder Carla Stokes and Bishop Kenneth Pearman.

>> Men who sued Eddie Long for sexual misconduct address bishop's death

Long was absent at several services during recent months but was present during Christmas and New Year’s Eve services. His last sermon was during Watch Night Services to usher in the new year.

New Birth members were told of Long’s death Sunday. Some sobbed and cried. Others prayed and leaned on those near them in support.

“Even though we don’t know the details right now, Bishop Long wouldn’t leave us in a lurch,” said longtime member Lela Brooks, a member for 29 years. “His legacy will live on. He did a lot of good and we won’t let that fade.”

>> Read more trending stories

Talis Burrell hadn’t been a member as long. Having joined in 2006, she said even though the congregation held out hope that Long had won the battle with his illness, she wasn’t completely caught off guard at his passing.

“He hadn’t really come back physically," she said.

“I’ve been a member here for 34 years and it’s just devastating,” said Keith Crowley. “It’s sad for the world.”

Crowley, like many members of New Birth, found out about Long’s death when it was announced during Sunday’s service.

Mark Zuckerberg no longer atheist, announces revelation on Facebook

The holiday season has brought a religious revelation for followers of Mark Zuckerberg.

The Facebook creator announced on his social media account that he is an atheist no longer, The Telegraph and other media outlets are reporting.

>> Read more trending stories 

Zuckerberg posted a Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah message recently.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah from Priscilla, Max, Beast and me! Seeing the moments of joy and family shared on...Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Sunday, December 25, 2016

The post prompted questions from followers as to whether Zuckerberg has returned to religion after years of not practicing and posting his religious beliefs as atheist. 

Zuckerberg responded that he was raised Jewish, but didn't follow this upbringing after questioning what he called things. Now he said he thinks religion is important.

His wife Priscilla Chan is Buddhist, and he has praised the religion, The Telegraph reported.

Zuckerberg also met with Pope Francis last year to discuss bringing the internet to developing countries, The Associated Press reported.

Ivanka Trump reflects on 2016, shares New Year's Eve, Hanukkah family photo

Ivanka Trump looked back on 2016 and shared a family photo in social media posts Saturday as she celebrated New Year's Eve and the last night of Hanukkah with her husband and children.

In one post, Trump, Jared Kushner and their stood happily in front of a menorah.

>> Read more trending stories

“New Year’s Eve + Last Night of Chanukah,” she wrote on Instagram.

>> Click here or scroll down for more

<iframe src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/ivanka-trump-reflects-on-2016-shares-new-year-s-ev-586a1ed28173b01707c85754/embed?header=none&amp;border=false" width="100%" height="750" frameborder="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe> <script src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/ivanka-trump-reflects-on-2016-shares-new-year-s-ev-586a1ed28173b01707c85754.js?header=none&amp;border=false"></script> [View the story "Ivanka Trump reflects on 2016, shares New Year's Eve, Hanukkah family photo" on Storify]

'Leah Remini: Scientology': Ex-church members accuse David Miscavige of physical abuse

In the latest episode of “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath,” Leah Remini and Mike Rinder talked to individuals with formerly strong ties to the church who outlined how they were abused by the church and its leader.

Remini and Rinder talked to former members Jeff Hawkins, Tom DeVocht and Ron Miscavige, father of current leader David Miscavige, who shared shocking personal stories.

“[David] was a mean guy,” said Hawkins, who was a member of the church for three decades. “David Miscavige physically assaulted me five separate times.”

DeVocht, who was also a member of the church for three decades, shared how he forgot to get a permit to tear up the sidewalk outside of the Scientology headquarters in Florida. When he was asked if he had gotten it, he replied, “No,” and before he could say anything else, David Miscavige started attacking him.

>> Read more trending stories

“Before I could even think, he dove across the table, grabbed my [expletive] tie, and shoved it up. And I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t talk,” DeVocht said.

The church refuted DeVocht’s and Hawkins’ claims, writing in a statement, “Lying is nothing new for Hawkins, who has been a discredited anti-Scientology media source for years. His fabricated stories about having been a victim of violence as a staff member were debunked more than a decade ago.”

The church also refuted DeVocht’s claims and said that he is “a violent, admitted liar who left the church in 2005 following an investigation into his extensive waste of church funds. Compulsive lying permeates nearly every aspect of DeVocht’s life. To use him as a source is an indication of how tainted your program promises to be.”

David’s father, Ron Miscavige, a church member for 42 years who left in 2011, also made disturbing claims against the church, sharing that his departure from the church was planned out for six months because he feared what would happen when he did.

“If the word got out that we were planning on leaving, we would’ve been seized,” Ron Miscavige said. “My car keys would’ve been taken away. Becky and I would’ve been separated from each other, and we would’ve done manual labor throughout the day, and when we weren’t [doing] that, we’d be interrogated by an auditor.”

The church, once again, released a statement that attempted to paint Ron Miscavige in a bad light, writing that he has a “decade-long history of vicious domestic violence,” a “long history of anti-Semitic comments and actions” and a “shocking history of racist comments.”

A new episode of “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath” airs on A&E on Tuesday, Dec. 27. Learn more about the show here.

WATCH: Boy 'rescues' Baby Jesus, Nativity scene from cold outdoors

Many people display Nativity scenes in their yard for the holiday season, but one boy was perplexed to see Baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph out in the cold.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

>> Read more trending stories

A video posted last week by Rumble user Gregory Hogan shows the boy working for several minutes to carry the three statuettes to his front door. Then he brings them inside.

>> Click here to watch the heartwarming video

Source: Little boy unhappy that Baby Jesus & Family are out in the cold by gregoryhogan on Rumble

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