I have long had an interest in the Bible and slavery. The same arguments that were used by slaveholders to justify the institution are recycled again in later times in relation to gender roles, homosexuality, and other issues.
This subject illustrates nicely the difference between those who at least claim to focus on the details of specific passages, and those who focus on the foundational principles. Once one’s focus is on doing unto others what you would have them do unto you, how can one enslave another human being? Once our focus is rightly on the Golden Rule, what other changes and decisions will we have to make if we wish to keep that as our highest aim and ideal?
See the blog In A Godward Direction for an excerpt from what a bishop had to say on the subject in 1861. It is not the case that times have not changed since then. But it is the case that many of us, having “learned from the past” in one area, continue to approach other topics and issues as though the light of these earlier events has no relevance to them.