Ray Moore believes in a different kind of school choice - one in which churches and families choose Christian education alternatives to public education. The guest speaker at Aiken Sunrise Rotary recently, Moore is the founder of the Exodus Mandate Project - an organization dedicated to assist churches and families in creating and selecting Christian schools or home-school settings over public schools. It's a slow, incremental process that could take 20 to 30 years to accomplish, said the Columbia area resident. "This is a culture war for our children," he said. "If a foreign power had attempted to impact on America the mediocre education program that exists today, we would have viewed it as an act of war." Before 1947, Moore contends, schools were largely Christian enterprises. In the early 1960s, schools still recited the Lord's Prayer and Bible reading. "If you leave children in state-run schools, 70 to 80 percent of them are abandoning the Christian faith," he said. Moore said it was important for groups to work together to successfully defeat the school construction referendum sought by the Aiken County School Board. The board members were hoping to raise $236 million to build or renovate six schools in the county. "It's not just about taxes," Moore said. "There are a group of people who want to fundamentally alter the system. We can make a theological case for church-based education. It's not enough to have a good feeling about God. It's about free market schools versus public school funding." Moore claims that a private and free market school system could operate for $700 billion, less than half the cost of public schools. Home-school children could be taught through online services for $500 a year, he said. The whole system of public education was conceived so that people have to pay taxes to support it. "I've offended," said Moore. "I don't want to raise taxes (for schools) but don't want to pay the taxes I have now." He understands those people who love public education and want to see it improve, but it shouldn't be a monopoly. That should be on the table, Moore said. Contact Rob Novit at firstname.lastname@example.org.