In joining the Peace Corps I face the very real possibility that I will be sent to a country in which I am not able to be open about my Christian faith. And by that I mean that it has to be kept secret. Many of the countries are predominately Muslim and the PC wants to avoid any appearance of sending Christian Americans over to evangelize. Anyone who actually knew America would know that a liberal governmental organization is unlikely to do this in any case, but that’s beside the point.
So, in light of this, I had the idea to get a very small tattoo: a cross, about 1 inch in size, right over my heart and therefore not visible whenever I am wearing clothing (including swimsuits.) This seems like a good idea to me because it will allow me to carry a tangible, visible symbol of my faith to Africa with me and, at the same time, will not offend anyone over there … because they’ll never see it.
I’ve been running the idea by people recently to get an idea of different people’s reactions:
Everyone in Portland: Yes! That’s a great idea! I know a place you can go. Let me know if you need someone to go with you!
My Dad: So, you have to have your tattoo hidden because the Peace Corps won’t send you to a Muslim country if you have visible Christian stuff? Then I think you should get “I Love Jesus” tattooed on your forehead. Seriously. If that will keep you from malaria & miliatias, I’m all for a tattoo.
My Mom: That’s a ridiculous idea! You’ll be in Africa for 27 months and have the tattoo forever. You’ll hate it by the time you’re 30. Don’t do it.
Peace Corps will have the final word. I’m going to call them tomorrow and see if I can still serve with a hidden tattoo. They asked me during the initial interview if I had a tattoo and I said no, of course, so I have to check with them before I get it.
What do you think?