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An article outlining China’s recent ban on tattoos for national team footballers (i.e. soccer players) raises some interesting concepts and questions worth considering, especially for Christians.

Positive Spirit & A Good Example

In prohibiting tattoos, the General Administration of Sport of China (GAS) recently stated that National teams at all levels “will fully demonstrate the positive spirit of Chinese football players” and “set a good example for society”. Here, one might ask why is sporting tattoos during a football match (or practice) a demonstration of negative spirit? What is negative about tattoos?

How do tattoos set a bad example for society? What are good messages for society and how can football players demonstrate them?

The article went on to state that players wearing tattoos will not be recruited.


The GAS sees that there is something “ideological, political and educational” about wearing tattoos. In other words, one is teaching, influencing and guiding people when wearing them. A related viewpoint is that people wearing them essentially make themselves a human billboard that promotes, advertises, markets, and influences something…

On this point, Christians should ask themselves: Does my adornment demonstrate the nation/kingdom that I love, adore, and have allegiance to? (Matthew 6:33 * Matthew 10:7 * Matthew 13:43 * Luke 17:21 * Galatians 2:20 * 1 Peter 2:9)

Mission, Responsibility & Honour

The article goes on to say that strengthening the “patriotic education” of players would “enhance the sense of mission, responsibility and honour”, as well as create a national team “capable of conquering and fighting well, with excellent style of play”.

Thus, the GAS is focusing on the influence of tattoos and what their absence could accomplish. GAS’ description actually sounds like what should be the ideals, goal and ambition of every Christian: Specifically, Christians should have a strong sense of mission, responsibility and honour (Genesis 1:27 * Matthew 10:8 * Matthew 28:19-20 * Acts 1:8 * Mark 16:17-18 * Luke 9:1-2 * 2 Timothy 2:21).

Furthermore, we should want to create a national or Kingdom team (locally and globally) capable of conquering and fighting well with excellent style of play (Deuteronomy 20:1-4 * Psalm 144:1-2 * Zachariah 10:5 * Ephesians 6:10-18 * 2 Corinthians 10:4 * Romans 8:37 * 1 Timothy 6:12).

Symbolism & Messaging

Though the connection between tattoos and nationalist ideals is debatable, there is no question that tattoos are symbols that convey messages–after all, that is the reason people wear them.

Thus, the question for every believer who wears tattoos (or is thinking of wearing them) is: Do they embody the messaging that you intend? Do they promote the Kingdom that you represent? What messages are onlookers and unbelievers receiving, regardless of your intentions? For some Christians, the answers to these questions depends on the size, location, colouring and imagery of the tattoos. For others, the answers will result in a firm decision against wearing them at all.

Profile Photo Andrea P. Kelly is a disciple of Jesus Christ, having started her faith journey in October, 1998 when she was baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Andrea is also a Lawyer and Notary Public at Andrea Kelly Law, called to the Ontario bar in 2001 with practice focus in Estate Planning and Administration. Her battle and victory over rheumatoid arthritis using natural health alternatives was a pivotal, life changing experience. Andrea`s desire to help people find solutions to some of life`s problems, including support for health and faith-related matters, was birthed as Pearls of Wisdom.

Whereas Andrea spent the first part of her career helping people to die well, she now wants to help people to live well.