The (Im)Morality of Tattoos

Grant Swart

(with sincere appreciation to Lorne Zelyck)

The (Im)Morality of Tattoos was originally an assignment for a Contemporary Moral Issues class offered at Phoenix Seminary. After the original writing, it was modified to also address the ethicality of body piercings. The modified version was published as “Under the Needle: An Ethical Evaluation of Tattoos and Body Piercings” in The Christian Research Journal (Vol. 28/ No. 06/ 2005) available at http://www.equip.org. The author (Lorne Zelyck) reserves all editorial rights and privileges of this paper.

The (Im)Morality of Tattoos

 

I. A Brief Historical Timeline of Tattoos

In October 1991, a five thousand year old corpse was found frozen in a glacier between Italy and Austria. The body of this man (later called Otzi) is considered the best preserved corpse of the Bronze Age every found, and dates to around 3300 B.C. The skin of Otzi has become of great interest because it bears several tattoos: a cross, six straight lines fifteen centimeters long, and numerous parallel lines.1 Continue reading