It was a unique Sunday service at Powerhouse Christian Church in Wyckoff as Rep. Scott Garrett (D-5) sat on the platform alongside Rev. Jeff Boucher to answer questions about his faith and the importance of keeping it as a guide in a city that can be morally ambiguous.
Boucher told the roughly 500 congregants that the purpose of Garrett’s visit was to illustrate how faith and politics could come to a focal point without alienating constiuents. Specfically, Garrett asked for continued prayers for his family.
“It has been said that being in Congress is actually worse for the spouse and families than it is for the Congressman,” he said, noting how his wife, Mary Ellen, and daughters, Jennifer and Britney, are responsible for carrying on when he spends much of the time in Washington, D.C. Because of this, he said, he covets the prayers from his constiuents.
Garrett explained he was born in Englewood and grew up on a "cut your own" Christmas tree farm in Sussex County. Growing up in that family-oriented community is what inspired him to get into politics.
“When I was in high school, I was voted ‘most radical’ but when I was in college my radicalism took a conservative turn,” he said. By 1990, he was elected to the New Jersey General Assembly and in 2002, he was elected to the United States Congress and serves as representative to the Fifth District.
“It took me three tries to get into Congress,” said Garrett. “But I did so because I thought the Federal government was intruding into our lives and my goal was to reign it in and redirect it.”
In between his responsibilities in Washington, D.C., Garrett said he sought out Bible studies that reflected his religious perspective. As the discussion continued, Boucher discussed that the separation of church and state was not found in the founding documents.
“I, personally, have asked, 'Where in the Constitution or the Declaration is that found?' ” Boucher told congregants, adding idea of "separation of church and state" came from a letter President Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptist Church explaining the government will not become involved with religious issues.
Garrett said the problem with the government doing so is that people will no longer be responsible for themselves but come to rely on the all encompassing Federal government for their needs, something he does not want to see happen.
As long as he is in Congress, Garrett said, he will continue to work to allow citizens to make their own choices regarding their journey pursuing life, liberty and happiness.