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An Exhibition of Conservative Paranoia

Exhibit 67: WND's Arch of Fake News

WorldNetDaily tries to turn a reconstruction of the historic Arch of Palmyra -- meant as an act of defiance to the ISIS militants who destroy priceless artifacts -- into a metaphor for the return of pagan worship. Does WND side with ISIS on the destruction?

By Terry Krepel
Posted 6/1/2017

In October 2015, WorldNetDaily stole an article from the Jerusalem Post detailing how "ISIS militants have blown up the Arch of Triumph, a major monument in the 2,000-year-old Roman city of Palmyra," among other historical artifacts at the UNESCO World Heritage site. "The group considers the buildings sacrilegious," the article continued.

Apparently WND is on the same side as ISIS in this senseless destruction, for it too considers an attempt to reconstruct the arch sacrilegious.

The first sense of freakout at WND over the arch came in an anonymously written March 2016 article, which immediately keyed in on the whole "Temple of Baal" stuff:

Visitors next month to Times Square in New York or Leicester Square in London are in for a culture shock – a life-size reproduction of the Temple of Baal.

Needless to say, the exhibition of a symbol of paganism, child sacrifice and ritual prostitution – well-known to readers of the Bible – has raised concerns.

While WND did concede that the reconstruction "meant by organizers from the Institute of Digital Archaeology as a statement of “defiance” against ISIS," it also found a random blogger to claim that "the truth is that many of the elements of ancient Baal worship are being mirrored in our society in 2016."

WND quoted another random blogger making a stealth attack against President Obama: "For the last 8 years as a nation we have begged God to leave us alone and to remove Himself from our affairs."

Misinformer Ben Kinchlow served up his own freakout over the arch reconstruct in his WND column a couple weeks later:

Well, the newest wrinkle in our trek to insanity is that to sympathize with, or to show support for, a particular group of people, America and England are going to have full-size, 48-foot temple entrances of the god “Baal” erected in New York’s Times Square and Trafalgar Square in London.

The organization behind this is the Institute of Digital Archaeology, which is a joint venture between Harvard University, the University of Oxford and Dubai’s Museum of the Future.

While ISIS has recently destroyed, among many other sites, the ancient ruins of the Temple of Baal in Syria, I think those behind this latest project to erect reproductions of the arches of Baal’s temple are taking matters a little too far trying to compensate for what they perceive is an egregious disregard for ancient history.


Let me get this straight: In America we have court decisions banning most public Christian activities, persecution of Christian business owners, LGBT parades, child sacrifice (abortion), no prayer or teaching of the Bible in schools, no prayer at public events, no public displays of the Ten Commandments, no Christian crosses...

But we can erect symbols of Baal worship in Times Square?!

Kinchlow's and WND's freakouts, however, omitted the full history of the arch. While the temple did start as a worship site for a pagan god, the temple was converted into a Christian church during the Byzantine Era and, later, a mosque.

When the arch's reconstruction finally took place in New York in September, WND gave its main cash cow, Jonathan Cahn, to wax prophetically about it, as he's wont to do. As one would expect from a guy who wrote a book called "The Harbinger," Cahn declared this a harbinger as well:

The idea that anything linked to an ancient Canaanite god would be erected in America would seem unthinkable. But just as it was with the nine ancient harbingers of judgment, so it has now taken place – the Sign of Baal has manifested on American soil.

It took place on a rainy Monday afternoon, Sept. 19, 2016. It happened in the city of the harbingers of judgment – New York City. No one who erected it or who unveiled it had any idea what they were doing – just as with the harbingers – but they did it anyway.

One of the centers of Baal worship in ancient times was Palmyra, Syria. The city contained not one but two prominent temples to Baal. The Romans erected an arch there to lead to the Temple of Baal. So the worshipers of Baal would walk through the arch and approach the temple in which they would venerate their god. This arch that led to the Temple of Baal was reproduced down to the smallest detail and erected in New York City.


As I stared at the ancient object being set up in New York City, I was struck in the same way as I was when I saw the nine prophetic signs of “The Harbinger.” Since 9/11, America has not only not returned to God – it has rebelled against Him in an ever deepening, ever intensifying and ever accelerating apostasy. It is eerily following the judgment template of the harbingers and the footsteps of ancient Israel as it headed to destruction.

And now, against all odds, the sign of Baal has appeared on American soil, the sign of a nation that had once known God, having fallen away, the sign of the god of the harbingers, the sign of national apostasy, the sign of judgment.

Missing from Cahn's article -- as well as from the accompanying video, which adds distracting, ominous-sounding background music and an echo to Cahn's voice to make him sound more authoritative -- is a bunch of important information: the full history of the temple, the fate of the original arch and why the replica was created. Cahn seemingly wants you to think this was done apropos of nothing other than to fulfill his own prophecies.

Jonathan Cahn in from of the Arch of Palmyra reconstruction in New York City.

A few days later, WND did a follow-up article rehashing much of what Cahn said. This article did admit the original temple was destroyed by ISIS and quoted officials calling it an act of "solidarity" with those "lost in Syria," and "a symbol of freedom," but adding that "Cahn said it was anything but a symbol of freedom." Cahn is not quoted as further discussing ISIS' role in the destruction.

Which raises the question: Does Cahn endorse ISIS' destruction of a priceless, centuries-old historical artifact?

While Cahn and ISIS may not share religious views, they seem to align on their hatred for certain ancient relics -- ISIS because it thinks any shrines or statues implying the existence of another deity are sacrilege and idolatry, Cahn because he despises pagan gods. (Again, never mind that the temple had also served as both a church and a mosque.)

Cahn never discusses the historical value of the temple or mentions ISIS, much less condemn it -- all he cares about is that he can exploit the situation for his own gain -- and one would think ISIS' destruction of a 2,000-year-old temple would be worthy of some criticism, if only on a historical level.

So it seems Cahn is cool with ISIS on this act of destruction, and perhaps with the obliteration of other pagan-linked site and artifacts by ISIS. Is that the kind of person who should be taken seriously?

The same question can be asked of WND, whose complete refusal to consistently report the full story of the arch and place a distorted focus only on salacious tales of pagan gods and its own version of end-times eschatology makes this this entire thing fake news.

The reconstruction has popped up again in February, and WND returned to its fake-news ways, as an anonymous WND writer intoned:

It was unveiled in London. It was displayed in New York, just steps away from Ground Zero. And now, the harbinger of the pagan god Baal has been used to welcome participants to a summit dedicated to “world government.”

The World Government Summit recently held a meeting in Dubai, bringing together some of the most important leaders in government and business to discuss international problems.

Past attendees of the summits have included former President Barack Obama and former U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

But this year, it featured a reconstruction of the Arch of Palmyra, the Roman triumphal arch that once welcomed travelers to the ancient Temple of Baal in the Syrian outpost of the empire.

Baal worship featured rites of child sacrifice and sexual immorality. Some Christians have connected the pagan cult to the practices praised by “liberals” today.

What a cheap political shot -- which seems to be the main goal of this anonymous writer's screed. WND provides no actual evidence linking "liberals" to Baal worship.

The anonymous WND writer even catches birther pastor Carl Gallups in full hateful froth:

Pastor Carl Gallups, author of “When the Lion Roars: Understanding the Implications of Ancient Prophecies for Our Time,” agreed the arch is a symbol of rebellion against God, and its presence at a meeting dedicated to “world government” is ominous.

“The spirit of Baal, described as sexual perversion, licentiousness, power and wealth, is undoubtedly sweeping the planet,” he warned. “There is a definite spiritual pattern developing before our eyes. There is a connection here that much of the world may be missing. This now world-renowned and traveling symbol of Baal made its debut in London on April 19, 2016, which happened to coincide with Beltane, a major pagan festival for worshiping Baal. From there, the arch was taken to NYC and displayed within short walking distance from Ground Zero. NYC is home to the United Nations and is the second leading economic power-city of the world. The Baal arch exhibit was unveiled in NYC in September 2016. Almost 15 years to the day from the Sept. 11, 2001, Islamic terror attacks on that city – the largest single terror attack in world history. London is also the leading economic capitol of the world.

“And now Baal’s symbol appears in Dubai, the top business gateway between Europe and Africa. Dubai was also ranked by the Brookings Institute in August 2015, as the fastest growing metropolitan area in the world. But, don’t forget, the Dubai appearance was purposely designed to coincide with the opening of the World Government Summit. Nothing spiritual or prophetic there – right?”

Gallups argued the revival of this ancient cult, if only in a subtle form, is yet another sign the world is moving toward the last days.

Even the anonymous writer's boss gets a say:

Yet all of this is ultimately a reflection of the largest story in world history – the battle of the one true God of Israel versus the false gods created by man.

“There are many false gods mentioned by name in the Bible – Ashtoreth, Chemosh, Dagon, Molech, Tammuz,” says Joseph Farah, founder of and author of the new book, “The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians and the End of the Age.” “But one name comes up more than other, by various spellings, in both the Hebrew and Greek scriptures, and that is Baal or Beelzebub. It’s no accident that in 2017 the World Government Summit and UNESCO and other globalist organizations and gatherings are still celebrating, honoring and paying tribute to this demon, this counterfeit god, this idol. What’s it about? It’s always about rebellion against the One True God.”

As before, this anonymous WND writer fails to detail the post-pagan history of the temple and arch, and censors the fact that the reconstruction has everything to do with preserving history in the face of ISIS radicals who would destroy it and nothing whatsoever to do with rekindling worship of pagan gods.

In other words, WND is sticking to its fake-news story on the arch -- and it makes one wonder if they're censoring the full story because they secretly support ISIS on the arch's destruction.

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