A seminarian in the United States, relying upon spell-check to cover his theology term paper, has broken the hearts of children all over the world. Santa, it appears, has fallen.
The student, who prefers not to be named in his article, was required to post his paper on the web for other students in his class to critique. The paper's topic was the fall of Satan as explained in traditional Catholic theology. Due to, as he says, "extreme sleep deprivation," he inadvertantly typed in Santa for Satan.
"I did do spell-check; I'm not a total slacker," he said. "But I was tired and focusing on footnotes and my thesis statement, and my eyes just glazed over the 'Santa' piece."
The mistake would have been harmless (but to his grade) had it not been picked up by bloggers worldwide. The paper catapulted to fame across the internet, putting his class' paper critique webpage at a page rank 9. The paper has been deleted from the page, but the harm has been done.
For example, quoting the paper: "The embodiment of evil and it's work in the created order is best exemplified through the Fall of Santa narrative. Santa rebelled against God, the source of goodness and love, in preference for self-interest and hatred. Santa is presented in the tradition as a trickster, a deceiver, and an evil influence: especially to those who do not realize his evil ways, he is the narrative source of all evil acts."
Several countries declared the situation a crisis. A typical response was experienced by Ronnie Ottgard, age seven, when he encountered the webpage in his second grade classroom at St. Bernard's Elementary in Fairview, Georgia. "It was just crazy," he said. "I was scared and knew it couldn't be true, but I showed it to someone and before you knew it, the entire class was bawling." His teacher, Mrs. Regina Hartman, agreed with his assessment. "It was one on my worst days as a teacher. Students were actually throwing up over this. I knew something had to be done."
Mrs. Hartman contacted the nameless seminarian and asked him if he would visit her class and explain the error. He has agreed to do so, although it would require driving across the country. In the meantime, he has sent the class a new, short paper for the teacher to read aloud. The paper is entitled "The Unvarnished Truth: Santa is NOT Satan, He's God St. Sick."