Worshipped can mean several things. There is the the religious idea of worshipping a deity, but it can also mean devotion to any object of esteem. Money can be such an object. The Bible warns that devotion to money distracts from appropriate devotion to god, implying that there is a conflict of interest between being worthy of heaven and of being wealthy - that wealth may bring stronger temptations than poverty.
But worship can also be something we do to a deity.
Thus, as a metaphor, one can describe money as a 'false god'. One worships it, yet it is not a deity. Since being an object of worship is a characteristic of being a real god, it is an appropriate metaphor. One's mind conjures up people bowing down before a pile of gold coins or something colourful which itself suggests a deeper meaning - just as any good metaphor.
Has Christianity run out of competing gods and need to invent new false gods or is it just politically incorrect to bash other gods so a more universal villain is needed?
Christianity has beaten up on the wealthy since its early days. But I don't feel that a metaphor that basically suggests that money is 'venerated in vain' in a fashion that is religiously counterproductive somehow 'waters down' the meaning of the words anymore than I think a ship ploughing through the waves undermines the meaning of vitally important agricultural developments.