Yes,religious hierarchies are political machines designed to rule the world.At first a religious hierarchy might seem to be something created by the word of God.In reality they are just creations of the church meant to garner power in a way that exploits the underlings in the church and gain privilege for those in power.
Spirituality is a positive force that allows people to understand the world in deeper ways. When it becomes codified into a religion, most of the time it takes on the faults of every other system in the world. Those who like power take over and, in trying to preserve spiritual truths, become authoritarian and autocratic.
I believe when we look back to the dark ages and the times of the great Roman Catholic Empire, we can easily see that religious hierarchies can be used as political machines to rule the world. I do not believe all religious hierarchies have this principle in mind, but it is possible.
I think the current pope can put that concept to rest. Yes, there is a lot to be said about religion and its origin being to control certain groups, but what's currently going on stands in the face of all that. The current pope has shocked the world again and again by trying to modernize the Catholic platform, he wouldn't be doing what he is if the concept was to keep everything as it is and tug the strings.
I do not think that is the point of most religions. In some churches and religions I am sure that they have corrupted people but that is with anything. All organizations have people that may not be as harmless as others. That comes with human nature and isn't specific to the religion.