Who gets to determine what is a cult and what isnt? Its totally susceptible to personal bias. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are not special or more civilized than any other religion. They just have the most power in the world so they are accepted as the norm. They've earned respect, but all religious beliefs are equal in my eyes. Either we give them all protection or we give none of them protection.
Unless a person or group of people are in grave danger because of a cult, it seems that they are quite similar to a religion. They are groups of people who come together by a common belief system or shared set of rules, and until they are proven to do wrong they deserve the same protections.
I think that cults should be given the same religious protections by the government as any other major religion such as Christianity, Islam and Judaism. I think that even if we don't agree with their beliefs, they still have a right to it. There shouldn't be a difference in terms of religions that are protected by the government.
Defining what a cult is and is not does not always come with a clear answer. There is a lot out there that falls into a gray area, for this reason the restriction of cults and religious persecution can often be used to describe some scenarios. For that reason I believe cults should be given the same religious protections, but the people of that faith should remain open to charges for broken laws.
There are established religions that have existed for thousands of years, all the way back to the beginning of certain societies, that are deeply embedded in our culture and deserve government protection for that reason alone. Then there are others, things started by people primarily as money-making ventures to lure the gullible into a new fold. These things should not be protected.
The United States is for a moral, religious (i.E., Judeo-Christian) people. Cults are groups of people who go in defiance of proper rules and ways and should not recieve any protections at all from the government -- in fact, they should be discouraged. Cults and secret societies are morally and legally wrong.
I guess it really is up to the cult. If they are doing things that are considered illegal, the government should give them a swift kick,rather than help. Cults have to be classified before they get any help in my book. I don't know how you would consider one a cult over another. To me all religions have cult aspects.