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July 1, 2014

City council member receives death threats over documentary

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Williams reported the threats to Norman police as a safety precaution.

“Am I worried? No. I can take care of myself,” he said. “I don’t walk around in fear. My wife and kids when I’m not around is what I think about.”

Much of Williams’ concern centers on his church and the safety of anyone who might be in the building if someone wanted to target him through the church facility, which was shown in the movie.

“The police department has been great,” he said. “They have come by and checked and tried to make us more at ease.”

Kovach said it’s important not to let hate do the talking.

“We cannot move forward without knowing and acting upon the axiom that we all deserve respectful communication,” Kovach said. “Attacking others for who they are is just as wrong as being attacked for who we are.

“It boils down to the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It’s not new, but it is fundamental to a civilized society respecting diverse individuals. We must live together in respect and compassion for one another.”

The documentary was meant to open doors of dialogue, not diatribe. After stumbling upon the story of the Harrington family’s tragic loss, brother and sister duo Jeremy and Randy Stulberg teamed up to tell the story of a community divided on the opinions of homosexuality.

“It’s something that needs to be talked about,” Jeremy Stulberg said of the issues raised by “Broken Heart Land.”

Pent-up anger targeted toward Willliams is not a dialogue starter, at least not in the case of at least eight anonymous phone calls from different area codes he received after the film was released nationally.

“Most of the time, they won’t even let you talk — they’re mad,” Williams said. “To defuse that anger when they won’t even let you talk is nearly impossible. I just usually hang up when I realize they’re not going to listen.”

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