I was reading Philemon the other day, and it is notable that Paul is not critical of slavery. Onesimus was a runaway slave and Paul overlooked this fact and asked Onesimus to retun to his slaveowner, Philemon who was also a Christian. The book actually discusses how a Christian ought to be treated, because Roman law would encourage slavery, Paul shows how a Christian slave should be treated by a Christian master far more fairly, and if at all possible, should be sold into freedom should the Christian slave request it. Slavery then, and in all honesty the slaves of the South, probably didn't really ask for freedom, not out of fear, but in Rome's case, they were runaways from debt, and in the South's case most blacks simply didn't know what freedom was. But reading Philemon I thought of how profoundly different the seemingly normal viewpoint in the Bible (if you have slaves, whatever, if you don't have slaves, don't get slaves); the abolition movement was. That is to say, abolitionism took work for a Southerner to come to terms with, because they had slaves and there was no greater motion in Philemon to do anything about it. Of course, this is a narrow view of the New Testament and ultimately a wrong one as Paul always did encourage the release of slaves, but intelligently, sort of how Thomas Jefferson saw it ending, not simply an overthrow of the system all at once. Eventually a Christian Rome would emancipate slaves. Either way, this same view point strongly has changed among post-Christians, regarding homosexual marriage. And now the Christian/Post-Christian lines are being drawn. And I believe as there are hundreds of thousands of married homosexuals from Gay states, the issue will become even more divisive and partisan as Christians refuse to accept Gay Marriage. Ultimately I think this will turn ugly, just as no one in instigating the sale of Negros south to the Slave States, to make Northern Free States, could have forseen the Civil War (even South Carolina as it seceded thought the North would compromise and the North thought the secession was a bluff). I am saying that the gay marriage issue today, seemingly harmless, will create as powerful a rift in the US as slavery did, because the Bible can divide people that way. Jesus Christ did say he came to bring a sword, because it would pit brother against brother, and he was specifically referring to the sorrowful conflict between Christians and non-Christians over the truth.