I think that religion can be a tool that gives power to certain individuals.
Theoretically, I don't see religion as a means to empower specific people. It is meant as a way for individuals to find the presence of the divine in their lives. This means that spiritual identity exists between the individual and the divine. However, the way individuals seek this is where the element of power arises. People who turn to "more knowledgeable" sources might end up giving a great deal of power to specific individuals. As a result, gurus or healers emerge.
While the theoretical construction of religion does not mean to give power to specific individuals, the path that people take to find the presence of the divine might enable some to have power over others. When people struggle with questions such as "What does God want from me," or "How can my suffering be alleviated," there is a propensity to turn to people who are supposedly insightful. The need to find answers from another source is where religion can give power to specific people. It might be for this reason that one can find pastors, rabbis, priests, and other individuals who are considered "Holy" as holding power over individuals.