Recently, a religious fundie criticised the notion of tattoos, as part of a long-winded, and ultimately hypocritical rant, on bodily autonomy.

There is the issue of tattoos. This has been a worldly practice for millennia. It is not biblical teaching to get a tattoo no matter how romantic or how much it honors another person. Most Christians today blow off the verse in Lev. that bans tattoos.

They do so because they desire one or more even though tattoos do nothing constructive for this world. There is a New Testament verse that supports the verse in Lev., one that cannot be blown off:

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Rom. 12)

Tattoos are a pattern of this world. Getting one would be conforming to the patterns of this world. No matter how you justify getting one, you cannot get around this truth. Getting one knowing God will forgive you is just as wrong as you are getting one out of selfish desire.

There is a lot to unpack here. Firstly, the Old Testament is said to be a set of fulfilled laws, superseded by the New Testament (is that not the argument made to excuse the astonishing levels of bloodshed in the OT?). The New Testament does not actually reference tattoos in any way, shape, or form.

What’s interesting is this fundie’s reference to tattoos not being constructive. Talk about a killjoy! It’s not constructive to paint pictures of flowers either, yet Van Gogh’s famous painting is considered a source of great, melancholy beauty. There’s nothing constructive about Beethoven’s symphonies, yet people regard them as a source of great joy. There is nothing practical about the Star Wars saga, yet it is enjoyed by millions around the world.

The notion of tattoos as conformist is ironic, and hilarious. Tattoos are derided as symbols of rebellion, and stigmatised the world over. Things are getting better in this regard, but employers can still deny someone a job, on the basis of a tattoo, if they so wish, and that’s in no small part because they buy into the stereotypes around tattoos. Women are, as is so typical with society, judged even more harshly than men on this subject.

I personally have five tattoos, and am in the process of booking in my sixth. I love all my tattoos, and they each represent something meaningful to me. My first tattoo is my daughter’s name, and I don’t need to explain the importance of that one. I have tattoos representing my sci-fi and gaming interests. I have tattoos rooted in characters that have meaning to me. I am planning ahead for my seventh tattoo as well. I am unaware as to what freedoms I am trampling upon by exercising my right to bodily autonomy, and it does not affect the religious fundie in any way, yet as is typical of the fundie, their selfish desire to force their position upon others, leads them to make yet another inaccurate rant.

Don’t like tattoos? Suck my duck.
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