(LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic software engineer was fired by his former employer for putting “Assigned by God” as his “preferred pronouns,” an act which was precedented by pressure from the company to display “gender identity” in the name of “inclusion.”
Chad Scharf, who used to work as the vice president for software engineering at the password management company Bitwarden, lost his job for refusing to violate his religious beliefs by endorsing gender ideology, according to a lawsuit filed at the end of May.
“Ultimately, I was fired because my faith ‘may offend’ someone or could have made someone ‘feel unwelcome,’” Scharf told LifeSiteNews via email. “These are the statements used by the head of HR to complain to the CEO which reasoned that my faith was somehow harassing people through the statement of ‘assigned by God’ in the pronoun field of my Slack profile.”
“There wasn’t even an actual complaint of harassment or offense, it was purely based on virtue-signaling and speculative presumption.”
According to the complaint filed on May 25, Scharf began working for the company in 2020, one year before company-wide “inclusivity” efforts were initiated. Along with other employees, Scharf was “pressured by the company to add pronouns to his Slack profile, [and] he chose those in conformity with his religious belief: ‘Assigned by God.’”
When asked to remove the “preferred pronouns,” he refused to contradict his Catholic faith and argued “that Bitwarden’s policies and practices discriminated against his religion.” The complaint added that “Mr. Scharf was very good at his job and, until he voiced his religious beliefs, never had any issues at work.”
Beginning in March 2021 – one month after being pressured to include “preferred pronouns” in his Slack profile – the company’s human resources department asked him “to remove his pronouns [‘Assigned by God’] and informed Mr. Scharf that he could keep his faith at work but not show it.”
Despite four different demands from management, the employee refused to back away from the truth and violate his Catholic faith. Meanwhile, Scharf “continued to engage in discussions with HR [human resources],” including participation “on a committee regarding the topic of ‘inclusion’ and provided ideas for how Bitwarden could alter its approach to ‘inclusion’ in order to be truly inclusive of all beliefs, religions, and creeds.”
Communication with the company included a letter written to Bitwarden’s CEO, Michael Crandell, explaining “why he could not set aside his Catholic beliefs while at work.” In August 2022, Scharf was asked once again to remove his “preferred pronouns” because “HR said that two employees felt ‘harassed’ by the religious statement.”
This request came after Scharf interviewed an applicant for a position at the company, during which he did not use pronouns at all, as using the person’s biologically inaccurate “preferred pronouns” violated his religious beliefs. Despite a professional interview and recommendation that the interviewee be considered for employment, Bitwarden’s CEO wanted to know why the “preferred pronouns” were not used in Scharf’s notes of the interview.
The CEO “then informed Mr. Scharf that he had contacted three attorneys, each of whom informed Crandell that he was legally entitled to fire Mr. Scharf because of Mr. Scharf’s refusal to use pronouns that violated his religious beliefs.”
“In the end, Bitwarden confirmed that it was ‘inclusive’ of certain beliefs and exclusive of Mr. Scharf’s religious beliefs when it terminated his employment.”
Scharf is seeking back pay and benefits for the company firing him through religious discrimination as well as “front-pay and/or reinstatement, stock options, compensatory damages, including emotion distress damages…punitive damages and pre and post judgment interest thereon.”
“The thing that I was baffled about was that when I asked the head of HR why it was okay for me to be offended when seeing others list their pronouns but others could not be ‘offended’ with my pronoun,” Scharf told LifeSiteNews. “She never answered me but instead shrugged her shoulders.”
“The whole thing is still quite a blur to me simply because I cannot believe we are where we are in society,” he added.
Scharf is not the only employee to face discrimination for maintaining his religious beliefs in the workplace. In April, LifeSiteNews reported on a lawsuit filed by a music professor who alleges that he was fired after converting to Catholicism and rejecting his previous homosexual lifestyle.
A Georgia school district recently agreed to reinstate one of its teachers with reimbursement for legal fees after she was fired for expressing concerns about an LGBT children’s book last year. Additionally, a Christian group in Rhode Island is also suing a school district for favoring “After School Satan Clubs” over religious clubs.
While hostility against religious beliefs is on the rise, Scharf offered some words of encouragement to those who may be facing such discrimination, telling them to “be at peace and pray for perseverance, courage, humility and meekness.”
“It is a daunting feeling to see the world, those you work with, respect, or care about harbor hatred against you or the Faith,” he told LifeSiteNews via email. “There is no tribulation here on earth in this life that is worth giving up eternal life in Heaven to avoid.”
“To say or do nothing is an act of hatred towards your brothers and sisters because you hide the truth from them, even when they revile you for it,” he added. “There are good, faithful people and companies out there. All is not lost, and ultimately Our Lady will crush the head of the ancient serpent as God has promised.”