It has long been the belief among the more conservative branches of the Christian faith that the sin of Sodom was engaging in homosexual practices.

We have been told that God was so disgusted with the sight of all those men engaging in “unnatural sexual practices” that he sent down fire and brimstone to destroy that city and the neighbouring city of Gomorrah.

It is generally accepted among the more perceptive of biblical scholars that the offence of the inhabitants of those cities was breaching the laws of hospitality anyway.

But what I do want to make clear is that the idea that homosexuality was the sin, only actually entered Christian mythology some centuries after the bible was written.

The Byzantine emperor Justinian I was the person who declared originally that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was explicitly homosexual practice.

This he did in two novels which he wrote in Ad 558 and ad 559.

The reason why he did this was to distract people from thinking his government was to blame for earthquakes, and to put the blame on homosexuals instead.

He also wanted to enact anti-homosexual laws to be used against his political opponents in case he could not find anything else to pin on them.

Such was the power of the personality cult that surrounded the emperor in Byzantium that any utterances from his mouth, or his pen were considered to be divinely inspired.

That particular piece of propaganda came to be a basic belief throughout Christendom, and is still used as a rod to beat homosexuals to this day.