A week before gay pride festivities kick off, a South Seattle man said his neighbor carved an anti-gay Bible verse into a fence.
Seattle Police are investigating to see if it's a hate crime or just an act of free speech.
Last weekend, 38-year-old Shaun Shaffer and his roommates decorated their home with four gay pride flags.
"I live with two roommates who are a couple. One roommate who is single. All gay," Shaffer said.
"We just finished putting up the flags, and we were taking the recycling out, and we saw our neighbor up against his fence," said Shaffer. "And we heard scratching. We couldn't tell what he was doing. There was muttering."
Later they realized he was carving a Bible verse, with an all too familiar message.
"I know what Leviticus 20:13 is, yeah."
The Bible verse states, "If a man has sexual relations with a man ... both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death."
Quite the opposite of the old saying that good fences make good neighbors.
"By including the verse that gays should be put to the death, that pushed it past the edge for me," said Shaffer. "I believe in the First Amendment, absolutely, but threats that are put out to the community should not be tolerated."
Shaffer hasn't seen his neighbor since the message went up.
The neighbor wasn't home when we knocked on the door and he hasn't returned our call.
On Shaffer's Facebook page, people offered friendlier alternatives, including "loving thy neighbor."
A sentiment Shaffer shares, even now.
"I would actually just say we love you as a person no matter what," he said.
This homeowner said the timing and the target of this message were clear. What's not so clear is if it rises to the level of a crime.
Shaffer reported the incident to police. SPD admits this incident is not so clear cut, but they are investigating it as possible hate crime.
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