updated 10/13/2010 4:08:01 PM ET 2010-10-13T20:08:01

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.

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The poem "Stem C." begins, "This is my body/which is given for you," and ends with, "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.

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