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In the Old Testament’s third book of law, Leviticus 19:28 declares rather bluntly, "Do not cut your bodies for the dead, and do not mark your skin with tattoos. I am the Lord." So, how can Houston-area pastor Scott Hill justify his weekday job? He operates Anointed Ink, a tattoo shop in Huffman, Texas. He also led a heavily inked team of Christian tattoo artists who competed in the second season of the Game Show Channel's blockbuster hit, the "American Bible Challenge," hosted by comedian Jeff Foxworthy.

Hill is a preacher's son, a licensed minister as well as member of the praise and worship team at God’s Word in Action, a church in Dayton, Texas. Each Sunday during the song service, he sings and plays the drums. What does he do when somebody quotes that verse in Leviticus banning tattoos? “Well, there are different ways to go about and it depends who I’m talking to,” he says. “I try never to argue with somebody about it, because that won’t help anyone, but I was beat up pretty bad on Facebook a while back by a minister.”

“My father was a pastor for 30 some years,” says Hill. “At 53 years old, he got his first tattoo because he studied everything you can study, Greek and Hebrew and Leviticus, and they were told not to mark their body for the dead. Everybody was running around thinking that they would tattoo themselves for dead family members. But the Levites, the priests in the Tabernacle and the Temple were told to keep from looking like the other people. They couldn’t cut their hair, trim their beard or shave. Anybody who talks to me about tattoos, I ask them if they’ve ever gotten a haircut. Have they ever trimmed their beard?"

“More importantly,” says Hill, “are they a practicing member of the Levitical priesthood? If so, they are violating that verse. The Bible says that when Jesus came, He fulfilled all those laws, so now, for example, we’re allowed to eat pork. We’re not bound by the fulfilled Old Testament laws. I think Christian body art is beautiful. I like to tell people that you can always take off your cross necklace or leave your Bible at home. But I can’t take the cross off my arm.

“It’s a declaration of my faith that I can show to people every day and have them ask me why I have that – and it starts a conversation and helps me to be able to talk about God. I deal with a lot of inner-city young people trying to clean up their lives. So, we help them cover up tattoos they’re ashamed of. If you quit a gang and become a Christian, you can still be killed or not get a job because of that gang tattoo. So, we try to get them in here as quick as we can and cover those kind of tattoos up. A lot of times we help them pick a faith-based tattoo, but it doesn’t have to be. We want to change people’s lives for the better, not shove something down their throats.

Hill was contacted by producers from "The American Bible Challenge." They asked us to put together a Christian tattoo team and come to Dallas,” he says. He and two friends attended an open audition where they made a video to give to the Game Show Network show’s producers. His team made it to the final round in the second season’s competition, but lost to a team of nuns.

The response from being on the show has been tremendous, according to Hill. “People from all over the country are writing to us to get tattoos covered up from before they were saved.” Even before the show, he said, customers would “come in here with tattoos of naked women and things like that, Satanic symbols. We help them get rid of that sort of thing.” Has Hill ever thought of getting into laser removal? “We have talked about that,” he admits. “In my personal opinion, I don’t think it takes away the tattoo. It leaves a funny looking spot on your body. I think we do better to give them cover ups or make something pretty. Removal is very expensive and takes a long time. It takes multiple times going back to really get them removed.”

“We had a blast,” he says of the show adventure, “and we look forward to better things in the future. When we first got into this, I prayed about the name of our shop, Anointed Ink. I didn’t just make it up. We’re anointed to do ministry and this job. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Decorating your temple is a pretty good thing.”

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