Tattoos: Company Won't Print Verses Condemning Sinners

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their duckcommander.com website.

But Armed With Truth has its critics, too.

"Even the idea of tattoos is very controversial in the realm of Christianity," Mueller says, noting that some people, adhering to the Leviticus admonishment, regard tattoos as downright evil. In Harry Potter literature and movies, the "Death Eaters," followers of the evil wizard Voldemort, sport tattoos.

"We've gotten messages from people saying, 'We think you are paving the way for the mark of the beast,'" Mueller says, referring to the revelation in the last book of the Bible about a Satan-like evil beast that uses the mark "666."

A couple of generations ago, the Christian community was pretty united in its rejection of tattoos, says Larry Eskridge, associate director of the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals at Wheaton College. Preachers could point to that Leviticus passage, "and that cinched it right there," Eskridge says. Tattoos weren't meant for "proper churchgoers."

However, while tattoos remain "contested terrain" for some Christians, "I think there has been a lot of change in the last 20 or 25 years," Eskridge says. "This is one of those touchy issues ... depending on your church and who your mom and dad are."

You can't go to a water park or professional sports venue today without seeing armfuls of tattoos. Eskridge notes that San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kapernick talks about his Christian faith and also boasts Scripture tattoos. (On his throwing shoulder is this Scripture, appropriate after wins: "You armed me with strength for battle; you made my adversaries bow at my feet.")

Just as the broad, diverse Christian community has seen opinions change when it comes to hairstyles or rock music, many have been more welcoming to tattoos, Eskridge says.

That is the case at Christian Liberty Academy.

"We may have softened up over the years," says headmaster Thad Bennett, 46, who remembers when Mueller was a student there. "The moral law hasn't changed, but the clerical laws have changed."

School policy still doesn't allow a student to get tattooed, "but if he does, I don't think he's the worst kid in the world," Bennett says. …