Thursday, September 12, 2013

A 'mark' of declining civilization

I read this post over at Vox a couple days ago, which is probably why this story caught my eye as well:
The entire right side of Theresa Vail's body is covered in a tattoo and an another on her back represents her military service. It is believed to be the first time that a Miss America contestant has openly shown a tattoo on stage. The tattoo on her right side is the Serenity Prayer... Vail says the prayer helped her as a child get through difficult times. The tattoos were fully visible to the pageant judges during the swimsuit preliminary competition during the week-long event in Atlantic City. She did not win the round but it was unclear if the judges were swayed by the tattoos. She said on her blog that while she doesn't have dragons or butterflies, the prayer is very personal and meaningful to her. Vail wrote: "Should I win Miss America because I have tattoos? Of course not. BUT, I shouldn’t be discredited for having them either. This is 2013. We are not in the dark-ages."
Really? You wouldn't know it by the increasing number of goulish-looking people sporting yards of ink or radical piercings and body alterations. But then, hurling the term 'dark ages' isn't just a reference to supposed ignorance and superstition anymore--it's also an indictment of anything that smacks of restraint and self-discipline. You go, girl...
This, however, was the coup de grace for this particular story:
The 22-year-old from Manhattan, Kansas says her platform issues are to empower women to overcome stereotypes and break barriers... She is also a liturgical minister for her local church.
I wonder, if in the performance of those ministerial duties, she ever came across this little piece of (literally) Godly instruction:
You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19:28)
There is much wisdom in heeding that counsel. I am not condeming those who have tattoos--we've all done dumb things. As is pointed out in the linked post in the paragraph, God's mercy means no error is insurmountable for those who seek Him. This post is more about the prevailing cultural shift in our land, of which the growing prominence of tattoos is but a part. The allure of body modification is bound up in a rebellious and prideful spirit, that gives little thought to the future and shows no acknowledgment of or respect for the imagio dei carried by every human being. This is the fount of many foolish decisions and tragic consequences. Tattoos just happen to be a more visible (not to mention permanent) reminder of that attitude and poor judgment. They are also a sign of the spiritual rebellion of this age, and the impending consequences thereof...

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