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"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15

To Tattoo or Not to Tattoo

Terry Watkins

Dial-The-Truth Ministries. Used with Permission; Parts 5 and 6 of 8


The Bible, from cover to cover, and over and over, condemns rebellion. The Lord God considered rebellion so serious – He compared rebellion to witchcraft. And may I remind you, witchcraft was punishable by death!

"For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft…” 1 Samuel 15:23

"Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." Exodus 22:18

And if there’s one message the tattoo cries out – loud and clear – it’s rebellion.

Throughout history tattoos have symbolized rebellion. There’s nothing normal about a tattoo. A tattoo screams of unabashed rebellion and deviancy.

Every tattoo book, and every article, I researched, both old and new, openly affirmed the deliberate rebellion symbolized by the tattoo. Book after book, article after article, sung the same song – tattoos are open rebellion. It’s worth noting – all the following quotes are from pro tattoo books.

"Since body art is still not mainstream, having marks on your body that you put there on purpose shows the world your rebellious and unconventional nature". (Jean-Chris Miller, The Body Art Book: A Complete, Illustrated Guide to Tattoos, Piercings, and Other Body Modifications, p. 32)

"In this culture, a tattooed person is still looked at as a rebel, as someone who has very visibly stepped out of the bounds of normal society…"(Michelle Delio, Tattoo: The Exotic Art of Skin Decoration, p. 75)

"Unquestionably tattoos are socially unacceptable." (Ronald Scutt, Art, Sex and Symbol, 1974, p. 179)


Steve Gilbert, in the very popular, pro-tattoo book, Tattoo History: A Source Book, documents that even the word "tattoo" means ". . . a mark of disgrace or reproach".

"The Latin word for ‘tattoo’ was stigma and the original meaning is reflected in modern dictionaries. Among the definitions of ‘stigma’ listed by Webster are a ‘prick with a pointed instrument,’ . . .’ a distinguishing mark cut into the flesh of a slave or a criminal,’ and ‘a mark of disgrace or reproach." (Gilbert, Steve, Tattoo History: A Source Book, p. 15)

In fact, for most of its slimy history the tattoo was used to mark the criminal, adulterers, traitors, deserters, the deviant and outcast. The tattoo was a dreaded mark of reproach and disgrace.

"Adultery, also, was punished in this way [tattooed] in some parts of Britain, and ‘bad characters’ were marked BC. . . In 1717, branding was abolished in the Army and replaced with tattooing...with the letter ‘D’ deserter’." (Ronald Scutt, Art, Sex and Symbol, 1974, p. 162)


As late as the early 1900’s, the tattoo was so far "out of bounds" of normal, civilized society, the tattooed was mainly found freaking people out as an attraction in the circus "freak show".

"By 1897 tattooing had reached the United States, where it immediately became a circus sideshow attraction." (Laura Reybold, Everything you need to know about the dangers of tattooing and body piercing, p. 17)

"The popularity of tattooing during the latter part of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century owed much to the circus." (Gilbert, Steve, Tattoo History: A Source Book, p. 135)


Tattoos are so rebellious and disgusting to most people – they compare a tattoo to filthy pornography – "dirty, indecent and subversive to morality".

"In a society that considers nudity as dirty, indecent, and subversive or morality…it is not surprising that decorations to the body are allocated to the same category." (Ronald Scutt, Art, Sex and Symbol, 1974, p. 179)

Even in the barbaric and immoral ancient Greek and Rome, the tattoo was considered "barbaric" and used primarily to mark slaves and criminals. It’s interesting, they promoted slavery and other forms of depravity – but felt tattoos were barbaric. What does that testify of today’s barbaric Christian tattooing craze? Is the next step in Christian depravity – slavery?

"Respectable Greeks and Romans did not indulge in decorative tattooing, which they associated with barbarians. The Greeks, however, learned the technique from the Persians, and used it to mark slaves and criminals so they could be identified if they tried to escape." (Gilbert, Steve, Tattoo History: A Source Book, p. 15)


Criminals, drug addicts, sex perverts and social outlaws are the overwhelming majority of the tattooed. Statistics, both old and recent, clearly reveal tattoos are largely worn by the rebellious and deviant.

"In addition to being a form of self-destruction, the tattoo seals the wearer off from the rest of normal society forever. It’s not all that surprising to note that the largest number of tattooed in Japan belong to the underworld, and in America tattoos are most prevalent either in jail or hard rock bands. (Danny Sugerman, Appetite for Destruction: the Days of Guns N’ Roses, p. 40)

"It was ancient Japanese tradition to tattoo convicted criminals. . . " (Laura Reybold, Everything you need to know about the dangers of tattooing and body piercing, p. 15)

"A study of young offenders on the West Coast of America concluded that delinquents tattoo themselves significantly more often than non-delinquents, and that the inclination develops at an early age without any thought for the future." (Ronald Scutt, Art, Sex and Symbol, 1974, p. 113)

"In the Borstal institutions [criminals] it has been estimated that the incidence of tattooing can be as high as 75 per cent." (Ronald Scutt, Art, Sex and Symbol, 1974, p. 113)

Comprehensive studies performed in Denmark, revealed the following enlightening statistics concerning tattoos:

"The same Denmark studies also disclosed less than 4.8 in the general population were tattooed."
(Ronald Scutt,
Art, Sex and Symbol, 1974, p. 114)

Investigations by law enforcement officials also came to the conclusion that: "the presence of ornamental body tattoos could serve to indicate the existence of personality disorders which are liable to manifest themselves in criminal behaviour". (Ronald Scutt, Art, Sex and Symbol, 1974, p. 117)

"Therefore, many authorities link tattooing with aggression, i.e. anti-authoritarianism, and it cannot be disputed that gangs and delinquents, juvenile or otherwise, display massive evidence of aggression". (Ronald Scutt, Art, Sex and Symbol, 1974, p. 114)

According to study after study, a tattoo so personifies and establishes a "rebellious atmosphere" that one of the most important steps in prison rehabilitation is the removal of the tattoo. According to many serious studies, a tattoo is linked so strong to criminal behavior and delinquency, that without question, the mere decoration of the tattoo inherently contributes to the criminal behavior pattern.

"This [tattoos] is one of the problems behind prison rehabilitation. Hence the reason why some plastic surgeons associated with prison service are prepared to spend an enormous amount of time removing tattoos, especially those on exposed areas. . ." (Ronald Scutt, Art, Sex and Symbol, 1974, p. 181)

The famous architect, Adolf Loos, who also studied the connection to tattoos and crime, blatantly wrote:

"Tattooed men who are not behind bars are either latent criminals or degenerate aristocrats. If someone who is tattooed dies in freedom, then he does so a few years before he would have committed murder". (Adolf Loos, 1962 Ornament und Verbrechen. Samtliche Schriften, edited by F. Gluck. Vienna: Herold, 1962, cited at


Studies have linked tattoos to homosexuality, lesbianism, and gross sexual perversion.

"To be fair to those who maintain that tattooing is linked to homosexuality, investigations conducted in a New Zealand Borstal for girls revealed that of the 60 per cent tattooed, 90 per cent admitted to lesbian behaviour during corrective treatment. . . Yet further analysis indicated a ratio of aggression to the number of tattoos, and that the most heavily tattooed girls were unstable and insecure and tended to take the masculine role in their sex encounters." (Ronald Scutt, Art, Sex and Symbol, 1974, p. 87)

"[associated with tattoos] Among these conditions Raspa cited: impulsiveness, low self-esteem, lack of self-control, homosexual orientation, sexual sadomasochism, bondage, fetishism, bisexuality, lesbianism, antisocial personality, borderline personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder, mania and bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia." (Raspa, Robert F. and John Cusack 1990, Psychiatric Implications of Tattoos, American Family Physician. 41: p. 1481 cited in Gilbert, Steve, Tattoo History: A Source Book, p. 159)


Studies also show that "self-inflicted" tattoos are frequently associated with people with personality disorders, troubled backgrounds and self-mutilation tendencies.

"Evidence indicates that it is the mere presence of the tattoo, not its artistic content, that correlates with certain diagnoses. Thus, any tattoo can be viewed as a warning sign that should alert the practicing physician to look for underlying psychiatric conditions." (Raspa, Robert F. and John Cusack 1990, Psychiatric Implications of Tattoos, American Family Physician. 41: p. 1483)

"…studies suggest that people with personality disorders frequently have multiple small tattoos…" (Ronald Scutt, Art, Sex and Symbol, 1974, p. 115)

Research clearly indicates "…the presence of tattooing was often indicative of a deprived and troubled background"(Ronald Scutt, Art, Sex and Symbol, 1974, p. 117)


I know what some are thinking. . . Sure, in the past tattoos were linked to criminals, depravity, and immoral behavior – but not today.

Today, the tattoo is worn by celebrities, athletes, politicians and business people. It’s adorned in high fashion mags and sports mags. There’s absolutely no data to even remotely suggest tattoos are linked to criminal or immoral behavior. No sir. Today’s tattoo is high-fashion and cool.

Oh. . . Really?

A very comprehensive study and analysis of tattoos, was recently published in April, 2001. The study was performed by Dr. Timothy Roberts, a pediatrician at the University of Rochester Children’s Hospital. The detailed analysis was taken from a study of 6072 young people, ages 11 to 21, from all over the United States, from all different ethnic groups, and from all economic and social backgrounds. In other words, very thorough and reliable data models were constructed for the study. In fact, this study is probably the most comprehensive and conclusive analysis of tattoos ever conducted.

According to the study, today’s tattooed young people:

Dr. Roberts writes, that the results of the study reveal:

"Tattooing in adolescents was significantly associated with sexual intercourse, substance use, violence and school problems in bivariate analyses and in logistic regressions adjusting for sociodemographic factors and peer substance use." (Timothy A. Roberts, M.D. and Sheryl A. Ryan, M.D., Tattooing and High-Risk Behavior in Adolescents, Division of Adolescent Medicine, Strong Children’s Research Center, University of Rochester School of Medicine, Rochester, NY)

Dr. Roberts, writes in the "conclusion" of the study that tattoos "have strong associations with high-risk behaviors in adolescents"

"Conclusion: Permanent tattoos have strong associations with high-risk behaviors in adolescents. The presence of a tattoo during examination of an adolescent should prompt in-depth assessment for high-risk behaviors." (Timothy A. Roberts, M.D. and Sheryl A. Ryan, M.D., Tattooing and High-Risk Behavior in Adolescents, Division of Adolescent Medicine, Strong Children’s Research Center, University of Rochester School of Medicine, Rochester, NY)

It is worth mentioning, Dr. Roberts, himself has a tattoo. And before the study, Dr. Roberts admittedly believed that people with tattoos were unfairly stereotyped. One of his purposes of the study was to prove that point. After the overwhelming results, Dr. Roberts, admitted, "I was more than a little surprised at the result."

After evaluating the data, Dr. Roberts says, "A tattoo is a sign that doctors, parents, teachers ought to be asking about the teenager’s behaviour."


I hear this "rebel-party-line" from Christians:

"Hey dude, yea man, I’m a rebel just like Jesus. Yea, man, He was the real rebel. He rebelled against the system, man. Yea, man, He’s the ultimate rebel. Man, like, that’s why I wear my tattoos – I’m rebelling against the system."

Heavily tattooed, Sonny of the "Rastafarianism-Christianity-AND-God-Knows-What-Else" punk-rap-metal rock band P.O.D. claims Jesus Christ was the first rebel — and the "first punk rocker"!

"We believe that Jesus was the first rebel. He was the first punk rocker going against all the rest of it"
Sonny, P.O.D. (

Let’s get something straight! The Lord Jesus Christ was NOT A REBEL! The Bible is very clear. The Lord Jesus Christ was OBEDIENT unto death – even the death of the cross!

Phil. 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Even in the Garden of Gethsemane, knowing that every wicked, abominable sin committed in history was going to be placed upon Him (2 Cor. 5:17), knowing that He was going to drink the cup of wrath of God, and in great agony, His sinless sweat was dropping as it were great drops of blood — even then, Thank God, Thank God — HE DID NOT REBEL! As He prayed, "…not my will, but thine, be done."

42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
44 And being
in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. Luke 22:42-44

Yes. The Lord Jesus Christ was ‘against’ the world and the system – but it was because the world was the REBEL – not the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank God – He was OBEDIENT to the will of God. The world, the flesh and the devil REBELLED and is REBELLING against the Word of God. Just like anyone that disgraces themselves with a "God-forbidden" tattoo.

Oh my friend, aren't you glad that Jesus Christ was NOT a rebel. That He was OBEDIENT unto His Father's will. Aren't you glad that Sonny of P.O.D. is so wrong? If Jesus Christ REBELLED, one second, one thought, one sin, there would be no hope. Aren't you glad Jesus Christ loved you so much that He died for you on Calvary?

Have you ever received the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour?


That harmless little "innocent" tattoo may have a little secret hiding inside.

A very deadly little secret. . .

Underneath that harmless tattoo is a very serious risk of acquiring a deadly blood-borne disease such as AIDS, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, tetanus, syphilis, tuberculosis and other blood-borne diseases.

Michael Machetti, a California tattooed biker seeking to have a very-vulgar neck tattoo re-tattooed-covered up with the number "666" has filed legal action against Bull's Eye Tattoo Studio for infecting him with a "flesh-eating virus" during the tattoo procedure. Machetti claims the tattooist utilized unsanitary equipment that consequently infected him with the virus. Machetti has required several serious medical operations on his neck and both arms to remove huge portions of eaten skin. According to Ron Bakal, Machetti's lawyer, his client's medical bills are currently over $580,000. (Case RIC391550,
Michael Machetti v. Bull's Eye Tattoo Studio, Sam Enriquez, Superior Court of California, County of Riverside, file date April 11, 2003)

An alarming research study recently published by Dr. Bob Haley and Dr. Paul Fischer at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas uncovered that the "innocent" commercial tattoo may be the number one distributor of hepatitis C. The study was published in the journal Medicine (Haley RW, Fischer RP, Commercial tattooing as a potentially source of hepatitis C infection, Medicine, March 2000; 80:134-151). Dr. Haley, a preventative medicine specialist and a former Center for Disease Control (CDC) infection control official, is exceptionally knowledgeable to prepare the study.

Dr. Haley concludes, "We found that commercially acquired tattoos accounted for more than twice as many hepatitis C infections as injection-drug use. This means it may have been the largest single contributor to the nationwide epidemic of this form of hepatitis."

Incredible! According to Dr. Haley's research you are twice as likely to be infected with hepatitis C from getting a tattoo at a tattoo shop as shooting up dope! With over 20 million Americans wearing a tattoo – and growing by leaps and bounds – we are likely staring down the barrel of a mammoth deadly epidemic.

The study also found that people who get tattooed in a commercial tattoo parlor were nine times more likely to get hepatitis C! That's nine times more likely to be infected by a deadly, fatal disease. And Dr. Haley is not referring to "backyard-prison-tattoos" but a tattoo from a "sanitized" commercial tattoo shop.

Did you know the deadly disease hepatitis C kills over 10,000 people a year? And sky-rocketing…Currently 4 million Americans are chronically infected with hepatitis C and rising. . . And according to Dr. Haley, its number one channel -- the deadly tattoo. . . Courtesy of your friendly commercial tattoo parlor.

There is the documented case of a 22-year-old grocery store employee who simply received his $45 tattoo. And four weeks later – needed a liver transplant! (Mryna L. Armstrong and Lynne Kelly, Tattooing, Body Piercing, and Branding Are on the Rise, The Journal of School Nursing, Feb. 2001, Vol. 17 No. 1, p.15)

When you consider hepatitis B can be transmitted with as little as 0.00004 ml of blood, and can live on blood contaminated surfaces, such as needles, tattoo machines, tables, etc. for over two months, the risk of hepatitis is very real indeed.

IMPORTANT: It’s strongly advised for people who have tattoos to get a Hepatitis check. And soon...Hepatitis can lie unnoticed for many years while doing serious damage. The sooner hepatitis is detected the better the chances for survival. If you have a tattoo – get checked.

WebMD warns of the "Russian Roulette" tattoo procedure -- as each stick of the tattoo needle opens you up to contracting a deadly disease:

"Hepatitis C is spread by infected blood and infected needles, which is the virus' connection with tattooing. Tattoos involve lots of needles making lots of sticks in the skin. Each stick carries potential for contamination -- and not just with hepatitis, but also HIV…” (Pamela Anderson Says She Has Hepatitis C, WebMD Medical News, March 21, 2002,

Still want a tattoo?

Ask actress Pamela Anderson about the harmless tattoo. Pamela contracted the deadly hepatitis C from a simple, small finger "TOMMY" tattoo.

The fact of tattoos spreading deadly diseases is nothing new. It's been known and documented for years.

According to the Hepatitis Control Report, Spring 2001, "Outside the United States, several studies have connected the practice [tattoos] to hepatitis B and C virus transmission. . ."

"Tattooing poses health risks because the process exposes blood and body fluids. Because of this a person who gets tattooed risks getting a disease or infection that is carried through blood. These blood-borne diseases include hepatitis B and C, tetanus, and HIV." (Bonnie B. Graves, Tattooing and body piercing, p. 40)

"By the middle of the nineteenth century, it was becoming more and more apparent that the practice was not without its medical hazards. For instance, in 1853 the first case was reported of syphilis, transmitted not in the old fashioned way, but via the tattooist’s needle." (Ronald Scutt, Art, Sex and Symbol, 1974, p. 133)

"In the late 1950’s, a New York City boy contracted blood poisoning from being tattooed with an unsterilized needle." (Laura Reybold, Everything you need to know about the dangers of tattooing and body piercing, p. 17)

In 1961 an outbreak of hepatitis B in New York City was linked to the tattoo. And the "ultra-liberal" New York City outlawed the deadly tattoo from 1961 until 1997!

Did you know the American Red Cross prohibits donors from donating blood for 12 months - one complete year -- after getting tattooed? Their Blood Donation Eligibility Guidelines under "Tattoo" reads, "Wait 12 months after a tattoo. This requirement is related to concerns about hepatitis."

Get this. . . According to research published in the Journal of School Health, 70 percent of 642 adolescents surveyed in a study reported hemorrhaging while being tattooed. (Donald Staffo, The Tuscaloosa Times, January 10, 2001)

Despite the attempt of many tattoo websites to nullify the possibility of contracting HIV / AIDS from a tattoo, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) gives a different answer:

"Can I get HIV from getting a tattoo or through body piercing?”  

A risk of HIV transmission does exist if instruments contaminated with blood are either not sterilized or disinfected or are used inappropriately between clients. CDC recommends that instruments that are intended to penetrate the skin be used once, then disposed of or thoroughly cleaned and sterilized." (

Why are tattoos so vulnerable to deadly diseases?

Simple. Because the tattooist is puncturing thousands of tiny potential disease bearing wounds with very little, if any, serious state or federal health regulations. And not only that, many of the customers receiving a tattoo are drug-users, criminals, rock artists, deviants and homosexuals who just happen to be the major carriers of the deadly blood-borne diseases such as AIDS and hepatitis.

And there exists no or very little federal or state laws enforcing any serious sterilization regulations. It is basically up to the tattoo shop owner to sterilize or not sterilize his tattooing tools and procedures.

"Where tattooing is legal, however there is little or no government regulation of tattoo artists. . . Since there is little regulation of tattoo artists, however, it is important to recognize that, as in any field, there may be unscrupulous or incompetent practitioners. Tattooing opens your body to potential infection, disease, and scarring." (Laura Reybold, Everything you need to know about the dangers of tattooing and body piercing, p. 18)

On their web site, the world-renown, Mayo Clinic sounds a warning about the dangers of the commercial tattoo shop and lack of serious health regulations:

"Keep in mind that tattoo parlors and piercing venues are not held to the same sterility standards as doctors' offices and hospitals. Few states have hygienic regulations to ensure safe tattooing practices in commercial tattoo parlors, and even fewer monitor and enforce standards." (Body piercing and tattoos: More than skin deep, Mayo Clinic,

WebMD also acknowledges the lack of sterile regulations missing in most tattoo shops:

"By and large, tattoo artists and shops are not required -- by state or local governments -- to follow the same sterile operating practices as other operations that use needles, like hospitals and doctor's offices." (Pamela Anderson Says She Has Hepatitis C, WebMD Medical News, March 21, 2002,

Dennis Dwyer, executive director of the tattoo’s industry voluntary-self-monitoring organization Alliance for Professional Tattoo Artists (APT) readily admits the problem, "Many people are trying their best to provide safe tattooing. But this industry has a lot of nonconformists,"(Pamela Anderson Says She Has Hepatitis C, WebMD Medical News, March 21, 2002,

Tattoo industry expert Professor Myrna Alexander of Texas Tech University, who has researched the tattoo industry for 10 years, warns, "There are some very reputable tattoo artists out there. They work hard, and their studios are as clean as medical clinics. They do a good job because they believe what they are doing is art. The problem is, there are many who don't."(Pamela Anderson Says She Has Hepatitis C, WebMD Medical News, March 21, 2002,

Most tattoo shops do not and will not advise you to the real potential for serious health dangers. Despite the vast amount of research available (just search the Internet) many tattooist still refuse to acknowledge the very serious health dangers the tattoo invites.


Besides the possibility of killing you with fatal diseases such as AIDS and hepatitis, the "harmless" tattoo provides an arm-load of other ailments.

Tattoos can cause chronic skin disorders such as sarcoid, keloid scarring, allergic dermatitis, photosensitivity reactions, psoriasis, and benign or malignant tumors. Many people experience infection and allergic reaction to the tattoo ink. (

Also, the pigments in tattoo ink contain small metal fibers such as iron oxide. These metal fibers can cause intense burning pain during an MRI procedure. Some medical institutions refuse to perform MRIs on people with tattoos. The MRI is an important medical procedure and this risk should not be taken lightly And every prick is an invitation for blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis and AIDS.


Think before you get that tattoo. . .

A tattooing machine can puncture the skin 3,000 times a minute. And every one of those thousands of punctures creates a hole 1/64 to 1/16th of an inch into the dermis that literally invites infection and disease.

Every single puncture of the tattoo needle opens up the real possibility of AIDS, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, tetanus, tuberculosis and about any other blood-borne disease. With the average tattoo taking about 60 minutes that equals 180,000 tiny "Russian Roulette" puncture wounds providing a potential path to a very deadly infectious disease.

Beware! Your tattoo could have inserted more than harmless ink in your exposed flesh.

5 My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness.
6 I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long.
7 For my loins
are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh.
I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart.
Psalm 38:5-8