April 16, 2005
Garrison Keillor: We have a special guest on our show today, you all know him from his work against forest fires. Smokey
Fred Newman (SMOKEY): Actually, the Forest Service where I work has sort of changed its mind about forest fires and so I don't say, "Only you can prevent forest fires" anymore.
FN (SMOKEY): No, we're more of a faith-based Forest Service now, so we feel that, if there is a forest fire, maybe there was supposed to be one. And maybe we should pray for it to stop. It's not up to us to play firefighter.
GK: Okay. What brings you on the show today, Smokey?
FN (SMOKEY): All of us bears felt very close to Pope John Paul II. We bears and popes sort of have a bond, and that is that we're both the butt (so to speak) of a lot of jokes. But we take it all in good fun. And now that the Cardinals are meeting in Rome to choose a new pope, I just think it's important for them to remember to pick a Catholic.
FN (SMOKEY): It's none of my business, but the way things are going nowadays, you know diversity and everything maybe they're sitting there in the Sistine Chapel thinking about maybe getting a Baptist in there. Or a Unitarian. Don't get me wrong. I've got nothing against Unitarians. I'm sure that a Unitarian would have a lot to offer the Vatican. But I just think it's better if the pope is a Catholic, same as always. It just gives people some sense of the bottom line, so to speak. That's just one bear's opinion. And if they get a Baptist in there, I'm going to support him and give him every chance. But I speak for most other bears when I say that I want a Catholic to be pope.
GK: Thank you.
FN (SMOKEY): This is not necessarily the opinion of the U.S. Forest Service.
GK: I understand.
FN (SMOKEY): And now if you'll excuse me, I've got to head back up to Central Park.
GK: Thank you, Smokey the Bear.