Once upon a time (in my own Wisconsin childhood) tattoos were illegal. How or why they were first outlawed and later legalized again is a mystery to me. It was probably some lawyer who argued for “freedom of expression”. As it turns out it’s mostly the artists expressing themselves using others as a canvas.
The whole thought process surrounding tattoos is kind of loose and flaky. I’d categorize getting tattoos as one of the many false freedoms we Americans so much enjoy.
But the real issue is “what to tell the kids”.
There are no logical arguments for getting a tattoo; but there are plenty of arguments for not getting them. I won’t list them here. If you wish to engage in a logical argument with me please state a single reason why I need a tattoo.
What I told my own son was this: It’s just a fad that people usually live to regret, but also it is a thing by which you are judged. It is enough that people pass judgement on you at the very first glance but people are also highly prejudiced and sometimes condemning for superficial reasons.
I also told him that tattoos do nothing to enhance the beauty of the human body. Either you are beautiful as God created you or you are not, and art is always an inferior imitation of that creation. You can’t make a better tree.
I also said that, especially for women, no matter how beautiful a woman is or how exquisite or intricate the artwork is up close, at ten paces the tattoo looks like a dirty spot and grimy, like she had just crawled out from under a filthy car she’d been working on.
St. Paul said “Know ye not, that your body is The Temple of The Holy Spirit?”
A tattoo is like graffiti on a church and body piercings are just so much vandalism.
No matter how popular tattoos may become (as a fad) there will always be those who will condemn both them and you.
Jesus said “If no man condemns you neither do I.” In order to achieve the approval of Christ we must live our lives in such a way as to avoid controversy and the bellicose condemnation of others. If it’s controversial it’s probably wrong.
In your journey through life you may encounter people who would otherwise be very helpful to you but your tattoos betray you and those who would help instead dismiss you as a violent gangster, drunkard, morally slack, immature, demonic or just an idiot. As a form of symbolic communication tattoos are such a mixed bag of messages and so subject to interpretation (by others) as to be useless except to identify criminals or dead bodies. And no, they will not give you time to explain.
I find it ironic that the U.S. Marine Corps sets limits as to what tattooing is acceptable.
Naught to worry, though. Tattooed or not, Christ forgives and will always accept you.
And beneath that frightful, ferocious exterior I can still see that fearful and frightened Child of God.