Stem cell agency pulls poetry contest winners

SAN FRANCISCO — An attempt to lighten up the heavy subject of stem cells through poetry has backfired on the California agency that manages the state's $3 billion research fund.

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine decided to hold a poetry contest to commemorate Stem Cell Awareness Day last Wednesday. But it later pulled the winning entries from its website because of religious language in one of the works.

The poem "Stem C." begins, "This is my body/which is given for you," and ends, "Take this/in remembrance of me."

The words echo language used during Holy Communion in many Christian churches.

The conservative California Family Council called the poem blasphemous.

The agency apologized in a statement for any offense the poem may have caused.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.