The spirit of Buddhism is, more than anything, about valuing harmony and unity, in which others are respected and embraced rather than denounced. This has been the way of Buddhism since the beginning, and this is true Buddhism.
You may have seen people praying to an image as if it had special power. Perhaps they're wishing for the well-being of their family, for material prosperity, or to recover from illness. But this way of practicing faith only leads to a dead end. Buddha images should serve as inspirations to cultivate the infinite loving kindness latent in the buddha within us.