BY PATRICIA MAZZEI, PMAZZEI@MIAMIHERALD.COM
The Miami-Dade County Commission is poised next month to reinstate nondenominational prayers to kick off their meetings, after a group of commissioners approved the policy shift last week.
But the change was not spontaneous: The conservative Christian group pushing to restore prayer has been laying the groundwork for nearly a year and a half.
The Christian Family Coalition saw an opportunity to promote its agenda after Commissioner Katy Sorenson retired in late 2010, according Anthony Verdugo, the group’s executive director. Sorenson had been one of two board members who years earlier — in 2004, Verdugo said — changed the county’s practice to begin meetings with a moment of silence instead of a prayer.
Sorenson was replaced by the more conservative Lynda Bell, whom the Coalition had endorsed. There was other commission turnover as well.
Before then, “we didn’t feel we had enough votes on the commission to get it through,” Verdugo said. “We didn’t want it to be a divisive item for the community — we don’t need that.”