The federal government is cancelling the contracts of all non-Christian chaplains at federal prisons, CBC News has learned.

Inmates of other faiths, such as Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jews, will be expected to turn to Christian prison chaplains for religious counsel and guidance, according to the office of Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, who is also responsible for Canada’s penitentiaries.

Toews made headlines in September when he ordered the cancellation of a tender issued for a Wiccan priest for federal prisons in B.C.

Toews said he wasn't convinced part-time chaplains from other religions were an appropriate use of taxpayer money and that he would review the policy.

In an email to CBC News, Toews' office says that as a result of the review, the part-time non-Christian chaplains will be let go and the remaining full-time Christian chaplains in prisons will now provide interfaith services and counselling to all inmates.

"The minister strongly supports the freedom of religion for all Canadians, including prisoners,” the email states. “However, the government … is not in the business of picking and choosing which religions will be given preferential status through government funding. The minister has concluded … [Christian] chaplains employed by Corrections Canada must provide services to inmates of all faiths."

88% of inmates Christian

There are nearly 15,000 inmates in federal custody and a large majority of them identify themselves as Christian:

- 58% are Catholic.

- 30% are Protestant.

- 7% are Muslim.

- 3% are Buddhist.

- 1% are Jewish.

- 1% are Sikh.

Figures obtained by CBC News show that before the contract cancellations — which will take effect by the end of March 2013 — there were about 80 full-time chaplains across the country and all but one are Christian. There are about 100 part-time chaplains, 20 of them non-Christian.

The total cost of the chaplain program is about $6.4 million a year and it's not clear what amount will be saved by the cancellations.

Chaplains concerned

The decision has raised concern among representatives of non-Christian faiths, such as B.C. Sikh chaplain Hark rat Singh.

“I believe this is discrimination,” Singh said. "How can a Christian chaplain provide spirituality to the Sikh faith, because they don't have that expertise."

Rabbi Dina-Hasida Mercy called the cancellations “un-Canadian” and said she was concerned about the inmates she counsels.

“My first reaction is, ‘What am I going to tell the guys that I see,’” Mercy said. "These people are all going to be out on the street someday, and unless we do some work while they're in prison to help them become good citizens when they're on the outside, it's not going to happen."

Surrey Muslim Imam Aasim Rashid said he doubted that Christians could properly minister to Muslims.

“It’s not very practical and frankly I don’t even think it’s possible,” Rashid said. "I don't think it's been done yet anywhere where you have a person of one faith who is catering to the spiritual or religious needs of all the other faiths."

Related on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Salt Lake City, UT

    73,487 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c7/Temple_Square_October_05_%288%29_c.JPG" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Birmingham, AL

    Metro area Birmingham-Hoover, AL<br> 70,990 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/26/16th_Street_Baptist_Church.JPG" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Oklahoma City, OK

    60,249 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/44/Bricktown_Canal_Water_Taxis_in_Oklahoma_City.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Memphis, TN-MS-AR

    Metro area: Memphis, TN-MS-AR<br> 58,847 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8c/Hernando_de_Soto_Bridge_Memphis.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Pittsburgh, PA

    57,695 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2f/Pittsburgh_WEO_Night_1.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Chicago, IL-IN-WI

    Metro area: Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI<br> 57,162 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4b/2011-08-07_2000x3000_chicago_from_skydeck.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Providence, RI-MA

    Metro area: Providence-New Bedford-Fall River, RI-MA<br> 56,840 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/70/Providence_Cathedral%2C_RI_edited.JPG" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Boston, MA-NH

    Metro area: Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH<br> 56,765 religious adherents per 100,000 persons.<br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3e/USA_09562_Boston_Luca_Galuzzi_2007.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • New York, NY-NJ-PA

    Metro area: New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA<br> 55,595 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> (Photo: In this March 26, 2012, file photo, One World Trade Center towers above the Lower Manhattan skyline and Hudson River in New York. One World Trade Center, the giant monolith being built to replace the twin towers destroyed in the Sept. 11 attacks, will lay claim to the title of New York City.)

  • Dallas, TX

    Metro area: Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX<br> 55,536 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/17/The_Catholic_Cathedral_of_Santuario_de_Guadalupe_in_the_Downtown_Dallas_Arts_District%2C_10-26-10.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Houston, TX

    Metro area: Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX<br> 55,144 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e2/Aerial_view_of_Texas_Medical_Center.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Buffalo, NY

    Meto area: Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY<br> 54,706 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e7/20080310_Soldiers_and_Sailors_edit.JPG" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Philadelphia, PA-NJ-DE-MD

    Metro area: Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD<br> 54,668 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/39/Independence_Hall.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • San Antonio, TX

    Metro area: San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX<br> 54,093 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/11/Rio_del_pasio_05.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • New Orleans, LA

    Metro area: New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA<br> 53,479 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ef/Altaner.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Minneapolis, MN-WI

    Metro area: Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI<br> 52,061 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/84/Minneapolis_05042012.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Milwaukee, WI

    Metro area: Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Alis, WI<br> 51,823 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d5/St_Stanislaus_Catholic_Church.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Charlotte, NC-SC

    Metro area: Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, NC-SC<br> 51,764 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3b/Southpark_aerial_Charlotte_NC.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Los Angeles, CA

    Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA<br> 51,382 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/92/Hollywood_boulevard_from_kodak_theatre.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Cleveland, OH

    Metro area: Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH<br> 51,185 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/56/StTheodosius.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Nashville, TN

    Metro area: Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN<br> 50,694 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/94/Nashville_Downtown.JPG" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Louisville, KY-IN

    Metro area: Louisville-Jefferson County, KY-IN<br> 50,445 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/19/Cathedral_Assumption_Louisville.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Richmond, VA

    50,113 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3f/Cathedral_of_the_sacred_heart_.JPG" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Jacksonville, Florida

    50,093 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9d/ChurchJax1.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Atlanta, GA

    Metro area: Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA<br> 49,721 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/76/Shrine_of_the_Immaculate_Conception.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Kansas City, MO-KS

    49,702 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d2/Community_Christian_Church_KCMO.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • St. Louis, MO-IL

    48,889 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5a/Tower_Grove_Park_Scene_1.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Hartford, CT

    Metro area: Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT<br> 47,226 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/64/Cathedral_of_Saint_Joseph_in_Hartford_3%2C_2009-09-02.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN

    Metro area: Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN<br> 44,672 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/30/Cincinnati_oh_skyline.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Detroit, MI

    Metro area: Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI<br> 44,583 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/23/Ste_Anne_de_Detroit.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Washington, DC-VA-MD-WV

    Metro area: Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV<br> 44,576 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ef/Cherry_Blossoms_and_Washington_Monument.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Raleigh, NC

    Metro area: Raleigh-Cary, NC<br> 44,469 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5c/Downtown-Raleigh-from-Western-Boulevard-Overpass-20081012.jpeg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • San Jose, CA

    Metro area: San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA<br> 44,189 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9e/San_Jose_Basilica.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Rochester, NY

    44,066 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e3/Colgate_8751.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Austin, TX

    Metro area: Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX<br> 43,921 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/06/AustinSkylineLouNeffPoint-2010-03-29-b.JPG" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • San Diego, CA

    Metro area: San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA<br> 43,917 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fa/San-diego-mission-chuch.JPG" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Riverside, CA

    Metro area: Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA<br> 42,293 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/18/Riverside_06Skyline.JPG" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Indianapolis, IN

    Metro area: Indianapolis-Carmel, IN<br> 42,213 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/18/Indiana_State_Capitol_Market_St.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Baltimore, MD

    Metro area: Baltimore-Towson, MD<br> 42,077 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/1f/E-mt.vernon.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Orlando, FL

    Metro area: Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL<br> 40,631 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6b/Orlando_downtown_2011.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Virginia Beach, VA-NC

    Metro area: Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC<br> 40,417 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a9/Sunset-_Waves.JPG" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Miami, FL

    Metro area: Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL<br> 38,058 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a5/Mouth_of_Miami_River_20100211.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • San Francisco, CA

    Metro area: San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA<br> 37,796 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/da/SF_From_Marin_Highlands3.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Columbus, OH

    37,702 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/db/ColumbusNightSkyline2.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Phoenix, AZ

    Metro area: Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, AZ<br> 37,518 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/84/Phoenix_AZ_Downtown_from_airplane.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Denver, CO

    Metro area: Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO<br> 36,968 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e9/DENCP.JPG" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Sacramento, CA

    Metro area: Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Rosenville, CA<br> 36,512 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7c/Sacramento_Skyline_%282%29.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Las Vegas, NV

    Metro area: Las Vegas-Paradise, NV<br> 35,761 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7c/Sacramento_Skyline_%282%29.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Seattle, WA

    Metro area: Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA<br> 35,643 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/10/Seattle_Ferry.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Tampa, FL

    Metro area: Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL<br> 34,761 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7b/Tampa_Florida_Lawyers.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Portland, OR-WA

    Metro area: Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA<br> 31,591 religious adherents per 100,000 persons. <br> Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Original photo <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cc/TomMcCallWaterfrontPark.jpg" target="_hplink">here</a>.


Loading Slideshow...
  • Being Awe-Struck

    Taking in a breathtaking view or considering the wonders of this world is scientifically <a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120719161901.htm">proven</a> to expand our sense of time, increase patience and decrease materialism.

  • Finding Solace in Relationships

    Many members of HuffPost Religion community said that family was how they found peace. Religious texts often shed relationship wisdom. Quran 30:20:21 says, "Among His Signs is that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He put love and mercy between your hearts."

  • Volunteering

    Connecting you to new or current communities, volunteering is a peace inducing activity with spiritual, social and educational benefits. Philanthropy can be applied to Galatians 6:10 in the Bible which says, “As we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

  • Having Faith

    On what gives her peace, HuffPost Religion community member Naomi Whitaker said, “Knowing that God works out ALL things for my good, because I love Him and I’m called according to His will." Another community member Debby Jacobus said, “Only God can make me feel peace. No matter what my problems are I know he always around me.”

  • Listening or Performing Music

    There’s nothing like the power of sound to dissolve frustration or anxiety. Music can even transcend belief. Princeton University neuroscience professor and atheist Michael Graziano <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-graziano/why-is-mozart-a-religious_b_875352.html">wrote</a>, “When I am listening to certain pieces of music I feel a reverence creeping over me, an awe that has a spiritual quality.”

  • Reading

    Melting into a word of stories and characters can be inspiring. Ultimately, reading can serve as a peaceful respite from life. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/14/reading-good-for-brain-_n_1884054.html"> Research</a> shows reading is good for your brain, rev up your imagination and relieve stress. For a list of religious books, click <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/14/top-100-influential-relig_n_1836687.html">here</a>.

  • Studying Scripture

    Sometimes primary religious texts like the Bible get a bad rap for being culturally outdated. Despite the theological arguments that come up, scripture is full of wisdom that can add peace to your life. Spending time in the word of your faith can too. Community member Salome Herrera said “Listening to the Holy Qu’ran” gives him peace. Religion Data Archives writer David Briggs <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-briggs/frequent-bible-reading-ti_b_897017.html">reported</a> on a Baylor Religion survey that showed frequent Bible reading can lead to social justice and openness to to science.

  • Creating Art

    In addition to creativity having emotional health <a href="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4893420/ns/health-aging/t/creativity-may-play-key-role-healthy-aging/">benefits</a> that lead to feelings of peace, passionate artists of many mediums often describe their work as spiritual. In a <a href="http://spirituality.ucla.edu/docs/newsletters/3/Paintner_Jan07.pdf">study</a> about the connection between creativity and spirituality, UCLA researcher Christine Paintner PhD wrote, “Creativity is about honoring another kind of intelligence that originates from within us rather than from outside sources.”

  • Showing and receiving love from pets

    One HuffPost Religion commenter Frankie Tice shared that his pets are a vital part of his peaceful spiritual practice. He said, “Cuddling with my Schnauzers and casting a circle for any ritual--brings peace to the whole house. My Schnauzers like to sleep in the circle while I do my ritual.”

  • Visiting places of worship

    Being in a sacred place was a common answer for readers responding to what gives them peace. Arnold M. Eisen, chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arnold-m-eisen/making-sacred-spaces_b_1310499.html">wrote</a>, “God is everywhere, but must somehow also be here, really here, especially here where we are, if we are to feel connected to God. The sense of divine presence is enhanced to the degree that the "dwelling place" (literal meaning of Mishkan or Tabernacle) we build for God elicits our highest effort and meets the highest standard of beauty, dignity, and sanctity that we are conceive."

  • Mindfulness

    Buddha once said, “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” Mindfulness and calm thoughts was a common response on Huff Post Religion’s peace question. So was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deepak-chopra/yoga-heart-health_b_900621.html">yoga. </a>

  • Fellowship

    Company adds to our happiness but company in presence of fellow believers or members of your faith community provides a certain harmony in your life. HuffPost community member MK McAdams said “surrounding himself with virtuous people who can laugh” is one thing that gives him peace.

  • Prayer

    Not surprisingly enough, prayer was a top response on what gives our community conversation. Sufi teacher Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee Ph.D. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/llewellyn-vaughanlee/mystical-prayer-opening-a-door-to-silence-and-love_b_1533374.html">wrote</a>, “The tradition of mystical prayer is another way to access the peace that belongs to our soul. It is born from a need to rediscover our heart's relationship with the divine, our own personal and most intimate inner connection.”

  • Nature

    The health benefits of nature have long been known. The spiritual benefits are<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/fr-richard-rohr/nature-and-the-soul_b_919602.html"> vast</a> as spending time in nature can connects us with our higher power. HuffPost Religion community members Linda Ford, Brian Waldrop and Lori Harding said mother nature (or God's creation, depending on your view) brings them peace. For Ford? Daily life on the farm. Waldrop? Clean rivers. Lori S. Harding? The beach.