Christian tattoos popularity takes-off in the Heartland

Christian tattoos popularity takes-off in the Heartland
By: Holly Brantley
POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. - When you think of tattoos, what images pop into your mind? Many times the body art is associated with bikers and tough guys. But, a Poplar Bluff shop owner is working to change that perception and spread a message at the same time.

Johnathan and Jessica Bates feel they Christians with an opportunity. They say people walk into Skin FX, their tattoo parlor, that might not ever see the inside of a church. So, they take a moment, as they say, to put a bug in their ear about Christ. "I think society has demonized tattooing," said John. But you won't find any demons at his tattoo parlor. You also won't find any cussing or smoking. "I want to change the public perception of tattooing," he said.

But, that's only the beginning. Many tattoos given here are Christian symbols. But Mobley is a Poplar Bluff policeman, and a regular customer. He's getting a tattoo of a praying angel. "I wouldn't trust anybody else," said Mobley. "I just like the atmosphere here."

Not every image inked at Skin FX is a Christian Symbol. But you won't find anything offensive. "I have an opportunity when they're here to bring the message of Christianity to them whether they're getting a Cross or a flower," said John. "As a Christian it's just part of my job, to plant a seed." "If you really want people to know you're a Christian, you have to live that," said Jessica Bates.

"Out pastor thinks it's fine. He knows we have a type of ministry out of this shop," said John. "We talk to people about going to church all the time. I invited everybody to come to our Bible Study on Wednesday nights."

John does face criticism from those who believe tattoos just aren't Christian no matter how they're designed. But, he's done his research and says the meaning may have been lost in translation. "Basically, the Bible is neither for or against tattooing," said John. "I just put a bug in their ear about Jesus and about God."