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The Bagpipe, a tattoo parlor at Covenant College


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    Would Covenant College, beloved child of the Presbyterian Church of America be your first guess for a college with an increasingly accepting community of tattooed individuals? It is well known that some Christians are devotedly against tattoos. Will this topic continue to be so often debated? Tattoos have become more and more prominent as time has gone by, and, what can be considered shocking to some individuals, Christians are getting tattoos at a growing rate! At Covenant, the opinion is somewhat mixed.

    So why do people today choose to get tattoos? Besides valuing tattoos for their aesthetic beauty, most individuals make the decision to be tattooed for a specific reason. Some common reasons include marking significant life events, memorializing important people, or signifying beliefs. Others may view tattoos as an iconographic representation of group membership, a symbol of independence, or a mark of spontaneity. It is also becoming less necessary for tattooed individuals to cover their tattoos in a professional workplace environment. More casual dress code policies and wider acceptance of tattoos make them more appealing.

    How is it that so many Christians are getting so many Christian tattoos, when a few generations ago, all tattoos were generally frowned upon by the church? It seems that tattoos have lost the rebellious connotation they were imbued with in the past. In many instances, if a Christian does have tattoos, it’s likely that at least one signifies their faith. This is certainly the case on the Covenant campus—several students’ tattoo designs contain Christian imagery or biblical allusions.

    When it comes to regrettable tattoos, the situation isn’t always as clear cut as poor decision making, or as obvious as a heart with the name of an ex-girlfriend or -boyfriend inscribed. Peer pressure, unhealthy relationships and lifestyle changes can result in regretted tattoos. Some may choose to let it remain as a new kind of symbol of how far they have come—how much they have changed personally. Others may opt for removal, or a new tattoo designed to intentionally cover the old one. This process of reclamation can be a powerful display of redemption and new life.

    When asked about the broad topic of tattoos, Javan Fales said that “statistical data will prove that having a tattoo will lower your chance of getting a job.”

    If you are now fretting because you have considered getting tattoos or because you already have them, don’t. Statistically speaking, that claim is entirely incorrect. According to Harvard business review, tattooed people actually have a higher chance of being employed compared to their non-tattooed counterparts.

    Zach Brown, a Covenant College student, says that tattoos have the opportunity to be very meaningful and are overall quite harmless. Brown prefers professional tattoos rather than stick-n-pokes (tattoos done usually by non-professionals who use a needle and ink to tattoo). Zach’s first tattoo was a combination of many of the reasons why people in general get tattoos. His tattoo is of Proverbs 3:5-6, which he got in remembrance of his grandparents.

    Daniel Holdridge, another Covenant student, believes that tattoos are important because your body is “spiritually connected with God.” Holdridge affirms that it is important to him that tattoos have meaning and that individuals be very intentional about what they put on their bodies because “your body is not just an empty vessel that holds your soul, but the two are connected. The things you do to your body impact your body, and what you do to your soul will impact your body.”

    Chaplain Lowe says concerning tattoos: “Some tattoos remind me of a really great book. They’re artistic and they have a story behind them, and some tattoos remind me of a bad sitcom.”

    When asked of his perspective, Dustin Hayes, an adjunct professor of English, says that “As a joke sometimes, if someone says they won’t get a tattoo because ‘their body is a temple,’ I will quip ‘temples typically had expensive and elaborate decorations.’” He went on to say, “There are lessons the Lord has taught me that fade in my memory due to time. I have several stamps that remind me of things and times that were once significant.”

    We invite you to discuss this article with your extended family members over dinner this Thanksgiving, as it will likely prove to be a safe, agreeable and controversy-free topic of conversation!

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