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Company Fires Florida Catholic for Marking His Pronouns ‘Assigned by God’…

Company Fires Florida Catholic for Marking His Pronouns ‘Assigned by God’…

CV NEWS FEED // When a password management company asked its employees to share their preferred “gender” pronouns, software engineer Chad Scharf responded with “Assigned by God.” He was later fired. 

Scharf was vice president of software engineering at Bitwarden, a password management company with a location in Jacksonville, Florida. He oversaw over 50 employees—until the company asked him for his “preferred pronouns” on Slack, a business messaging app. 

“Preferred pronouns” indicate a person’s preferred “gender identity” and can vary from the standard “he/him” or “she/her” to “gender neutral” pronouns such as “they/them” or invented, new words such as “ze/zir.” 

Unwilling to speak against his Catholic beliefs, Scharf opted out of the LGBTQ schema of “gender identities.”

“Leaving it blank was, for me, acquiescing to it. Putting your head in the sand and ignoring it,” Scharf told CatholicVote. “It was three or four months later, I got a call from HR asking me to remove it. There were no complaints, but she felt that it ‘didn’t sit right.’” 

Scharf refused, explaining that removing it would violate his beliefs. “It had been on there for well over a year before it came up again, just before I was fired.”

“They gave me the option, ‘Take that down and you can keep your job.’”

On May 25, 2023, Scharf filed a lawsuit against Bitwarden for allegedly violating his Title VII rights against religious discrimination. 

He alleges that he was fired after requesting “accommodation for his religious beliefs and because he raised objections to Bitwarden’s ‘inclusivity’ initiative.” 

The company allegedly told Scharf that he “could keep his faith at work but not show it.” The lawsuit also said that Scharf did not use the “preferred pronoun” of a potential employee in internal writings. 

“Mr. Scharf is Catholic; at the very core of his religion is the doctrine that God created man in his own image, and created them male and female,” his lawsuit says: 

This has been a Catholic doctrine for over two thousand years… Mr. Scharf’s religious beliefs are that there are only two sexes and that gender cannot be changed, chosen, or manipulated. When pressured by the company to add pronouns to his Slack profile, he chose those in conformity with his religious belief: ‘Assigned by God.’

Scharf explained that his religious beliefs “would not allow him to be silent in the face of the contrary ideology being advanced and encouraged by Bitwarden.” 

Scharf joined the Catholic Church 11 years ago. He has been married for 20 years, has three girls and seven grandkids. Scharf is devoted to praying a daily Rosary and hosting a Rosary group once a month, which 30-40 friends and family members attend. 

Scharf’s employment record was “stellar” up to the point of his firing, according to the complaint. He had been with the company when it was a startup in 2020 and had “never had any negative feedback regarding his job performance or interpersonal relations with his colleagues.”

“Religious beliefs by their very nature cause offense to those outside of the religion – precisely why our federal and state laws protect religious belief,” said Scharf’s attorney, Jennifer Vasquez.

“Per the Supreme Court, religious beliefs are not merely to be tolerated but must receive ‘favored treatment’ in the workplace,” Vasquez said. “One employee’s feeling offended, harassed, or unsafe just because another employee has stated his religious beliefs does not overcome these legal protections.”

In an article by Alliance Defending Freedom, Neal Hardin links the pronoun debate to two cultural trends: “gender identity” and a new “modern self.”

“The first trend is that basic facts about sex, gender, and the gender binary are being denied. According to activists, no longer is gender determined by body and biology, but by ‘gender identity,’” Hardin wrote. 

Hardin defined the second trend as the belief that authenticity is found by acting out one’s interior feelings. “This modern self is defined by expressive individualism,” he wrote. 

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