Religion is a tool, and it is only one of many that the small percentage of people who enjoy a lifestyle of wealth, power and influence use to maintain some control over the rest of us, and the events that shape our society.  They do not normally seek publicity, and walk among us appearing as normal folks, because they do not wish to isolate themselves any more than us people of average means do.  Anonymity is their shield, and they fear very little from the rest of us who do not have the ability to rise above the flock.  

I do not believe that these folks operate as a single-purposed entity, because their interests are varied, but nonetheless intertwined with all aspects of world activity.  They join forces when necessary to deal with a common threat to their existence.  If they allude to religious beliefs, they are not truly elite.  Delusions are not a common trait among those who see the big picture, and wield the power to move society in the directions that they desire.

Thanks for the seed of this idea, JD.