There used to be a time when the only people who cared what junk-food companies did were health advocates.

How I long for those days.

Can we not have our artery-clogging pizzas, breaded chicken filet sandwiches and crème-filled cookies without stressing over the political or religious positions of those who serve them up to us?

The latest munchies magnate to step into the food court of public scrutiny is John Schnatter, chief executive of Papa John's Pizza, and a Mitt Romney fundraiser.

Concerned about the impact the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will have on business, Schnatter came out publicly holding a pepperoni-loaded gun to the collective head of his “give it to me fast and cheap” client base.

“If ‘Obamacare' is in fact not repealed,” he was quoted as saying, “we will find tactics to shallow out any ‘Obamacare' costs and core strategies to pass that cost onto consumers in order to protect our shareholders' best interests.”

In other words, repeal the ACA or Joe Pizza Eater gets it in the mozzarella.

And the cost, by his estimates? Fifteen to 20 cents per order.

Three nickels. Not even a quarter.

I've eaten his pizza, and it's OK. Frankly, I much prefer Dino's Pizza or Two Guys from Italy, or a pie from just about any other locally owned pizzeria.

But does Schnatter value his customers so little that he doesn't think they'd scrape 15 pennies out of their car's coin holder for a Meat Lover's pizza to see that the minimum-wage workers in his employ get decent healthcare insurance?

Would you add two dimes to your next order so the kitchen staff at your neighborhood Papa John's — or Pizza Hut or Domino's or Round Table, for that matter — were ensured that they won't be denied health insurance for preexisting conditions? Won't go broke under the crushing weight of medical bills if their child becomes terribly ill? Or have some semblance of the personal security that Schnatter and our congressional leaders enjoy?

I would.

As would every person I asked in my scientifically questionable poll on Facebook.

I do applaud Schnatter's honesty, though. It's refreshing to see a business giant admitting he cares more for his shareholders than his customers or employees. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Companies need to put their bottom line first. Without profits, there would be no company and no jobs. I get that.

But not since we trusted Wall Street with our home mortgages have we been told “let them eat pizza” with such frankness.

And while I am on the topic of high fat/low nutrition cheap food, we should care as little about Papa John Schnatter's political opinion as we do about Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy's religious beliefs.

When did the personal religious convictions of fast-food-company owners become so shocking, so news- and protest-worthy?

He, along with millions of good people in our nation, are opposed to the idea of two paying customers of the same sex officially recognizing their affection with a government-stamped document bearing the word “marriage” on it.

He's not denying service to homosexuals; not relegating them to a booth in the back or putting anything in the sauce to cleanse the gay out of them.

Though I think Cathy, and all who proselytize against homosexuals, should take a lesson from their savior and have a few chicken sandwiches with the outcasts of this woebegone world, I defend his right to have and express his opinion. Doing so makes sure his detractors continue to have the right to express theirs by sucking face outside his restaurants.

It's a chicken sandwich, folks. Not a nuclear missile silo in your backyard.

And I like mine with a little coleslaw on it.

Besides, since General Mills came out in support of same-sex marriage, maybe it's a draw.

Unless the nation's food barons are into child labor, drug trafficking or spamming my Facebook stream with pictures of nauseatingly cute and cuddly puppies, I don't much care what issues they are for or against in their personal lives.

But if anyone knows where I can get some of those rainbow crème-colored Oreos I keep seeing on the Internet, please let me know.

PATRICK CANEDAY is getting back up to speed after his vacation. He may need more time. Contact him at patrickcaneday@gmail.com. Read more at www.patrickcaneday.com.