A couple years ago, when the first versions of the Religious Tattoo Bill were being debated in Australia, we asked: Why aren’t we just having people tattoo their faces?
If it wasn’t for the fact that the act is now legal in most of the country, the answer is a clear yes.
The law does not explicitly ban the practice, but the law specifically prohibits religious tattoo tattoos on people under the age of 16, so it’s clear that there’s some sort of ban on it.
While some of the legislation might be onerous, there are still exemptions, such as for people with mental health problems or children.
“The legislation makes it clear that the tattoos are not to be used for religious purposes,” the ABC reports, “but if the person needs medical help to remove the tattoo, it is still allowed to do so.”
That said, the bill doesn’t really address the issue of whether religious tattooists are allowed to perform religious tattoos.
Instead, it addresses a different one: what’s religious tattoo art and who is permitted to wear it?
The act is divided into five parts, which make up the Religious tattoo act.
In each part, the act stipulates that tattoo artists may only do one type of religious tattoo, and that the artist may not perform a different type of tattoo if doing so would “adversely affect the person’s mental health.”
The first part of the bill defines tattooing as “the art or craft of creating, altering, or repairing marks, tattoos, marks, or symbols or the process or the result thereof for religious or religious-related purposes.”
In other words, tattoos are “art, artistry, or craft” but not “religious or religious related purposes.”
There’s no explicit mention of what qualifies as “religious” or “religious related” in the bill, but if you’re not religious, you can get away with what you want.
There are some exceptions, though, including for people who are engaged in a religious practice, such a praying or singing, or are performing a ritual in the name of a deity.
The act also states that a person may perform a religious tattoo on a person if doing it would “injure the person or otherwise adversely affect the dignity of the person.”
While these exemptions are meant to protect religious tattoo artists, it does not address whether religious tattoos are covered by the act.
In its place, the ACT government has created a new section of the act, called Religious tattoo art, which includes an exemption for religious tattoos that “adverse affect” mental health or mental health issues.
The bill says that religious tattoo artist must follow a specific procedure that is “necessary and appropriate to preserve the dignity and privacy of the other person,” and must not “contribute to the infliction of pain, discomfort, humiliation, or humiliation” to the person, and “may not create a hostile work environment.”
“In general, the definition of religious art is a matter of the conscience of the individual, and therefore is not binding on the Commonwealth,” the ACT Government website states.
It’s unclear whether the act has a direct effect on religious tattooers, since there are exemptions for religious tattoo owners in the ACT, but it does make it clear what the religious tattoo act is.
When it comes to whether or not tattooing is okay, there’s not much of a debate.
As the tattooed, religious people go about their day, tattooed people go through the same ritual as everyone else.
What happens if they have a tattoo that they don’t want to be visible?
What happens if someone wants to be part of a religious ceremony but they can’t?
For religious tattoo holders, the tattooing experience can feel like a ritual.
If you want to get religious tattooed in your state, contact your local tattoo shop and find out what the tattoo laws are in your area.
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