Ian Tan
Student Writer

“Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord,” Leviticus 19:28 (NIV).

For a long time throughout history, many Christian cultures have regarded tattoos as a subject of controversy, pointing reference toward the above rather straightforward Bible verse. However, in today’s society there are also different interpretations and perspectives towards tattoos within Christianity. This week, I met with junior HU peace and conflicts studies major Sarah Fe Harris to discuss her stance on tattoos and how it ties into her faith.

Can you describe your tattoo and what gave you the idea to get it?

My tattoo is an olive branch on my left clavicle. The inspiration for it came from my experience in the musical Children of Eden at Messiah, which the olive branch featured in as a prop. It basically meant that we were supposed to create our own peace on Earth.

Have you encountered any opposition toward your tattoo? Or what supportive remarks have you heard about your choice?

Yes, my mom was against it. She sarcastically quoted, “Do you still love Jesus?” which was also mildly hilarious. Sometimes I forget that it’s on my skin, and then I realized people are looking at me judgmentally, simply because I have a tattoo. However, many of my friends and professors have expressed support and interest in knowing why I have a tattoo and what it means to me.

What are your thoughts on Lev 19:28 and the frown on tattoos in reference to it?

Later in the Old Testament, there were verses that forbid the foreigner and the eunuch from coming to the presence of God, but with the coming of Jesus, all that is nullified and no longer something that should be followed. “Methinks” the Old Testament should be taken in context and not as the collaborate text of legalism.

What makes tattoos or the concept of them so attractive?

It is significant because it’s like wearing your history as a person. You get to track what was beautiful to you in your past.

What advice do you have for those who are unsure on the topic of tattoos in general?

I would say contemplate it for a while. Make sure it’s not a fad, but don’t put so much pressure on yourself that you feel it can be the only representation of you and your image. Just let it come to you naturally.