Signs and Wonders
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, left, and Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman in a scene from <em>Breaking Bad</em>.
Associated Press/Photo by Ursula Coyote/AMC
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, left, and Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman in a scene from Breaking Bad.

Signs and Wonders: The murdering drug dealer in all of us


Breaking Bad. Much about the television show Breaking Bad requires a warning. It is violent, and if you look at a single scene or a single episode, you might think it glorifies that violence, and the drug-dealing, murdering central characters. However, a more extended look reveals what I have come to believe is one of the most interesting dramatizations of the doctrine of original sin seen in many a year on television. Series creator Vince Gilligan, who was raised Roman Catholic in Richmond, Va., said he pitched the series like this: “You take Mr. Chips and turn him into Scarface.” What he’s discovered in the process is that we all have the capacity to become Scarface. Breaking Bad: The Final Episodes aired its second episode Sunday night.

Pro-life speed bumps. One of the great pro-life accomplishments of recent years has come in the aftermath of the 2010 election, which turned many state legislatures from blue to red. Legislatures debated more than 300 pieces of pro-life legislation this year alone. Over the past two years, dozens of new protections for the unborn have become law. But according to Bloomberg, new abortion laws championed by such organizations as National Right to Life and Americans United for Life are getting consistently overturned in the courts. Bloomberg’s article leaves the impression that these laws are therefore bad laws. It is more likely, though, that the courts are usurping the will of legislatures and doing damage to the constitutional principle of separation of powers. This is an important story, as much of the reduction in the number of abortions we’ve seen in the past year has been the result of these state laws.

Low power to the people. Thousands of nonprofits across the United States are preparing to take advantage of what could wind up as the largest expansion of community radio in the nation’s history. From Oct. 15 to Oct. 29, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will accept applications for low-power FM radio licenses. These licenses will allow local not-for-profit organizations to operate community radio stations that broadcast at 100 watts or less, typically capable of being heard within a 5-mile radius. The FCC has no set quota on how many licenses it will issue, but community radio advocates estimate the number will eventually be around 1,000. The FCC first created the low-power FM designation in 2000, but large broadcasters resisted implementation and expansion of the program into urban areas. However, Congress expanded license eligibility by passing the Local Community Radio Act in 2010.

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Fracked. The Church of England is discovering that it is not easy being politically correct. Last month, the Church acknowledged investing millions of pounds in a company that financially backs England’s leading payday lending company, Wonga. Now the Church is taking heat from the left for participating in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. According to Religion News Service, “In parts of England, laws dating back to the Norman Conquest give the Church rights to mines and minerals under privately owned land. A new law sets a deadline for registering historic mineral rights.” The Church has taken steps to register its mineral rights, though it denies it will engage in “fracking” on the land. That hasn’t stopped environmental extremists from protesting. A campaign called “The Shrinking Footprint” is helping lead the protest. It urges Christians to oppose any activity that threatens the environment and wildlife. A noble goal, though fracking is a technique that often reduces environmental impact by allowing limited and depleted fields to produce more, thus reducing the need to drill elsewhere. For a balanced view of fracking, see WORLD’s recent story on the subject.

Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren is vice president of mission advancement for The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview and the host of WORLD Radio’s Listening In. Follow Warren on Twitter @WarrenColeSmith.


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